Happy 4th! Arts Freed From State Shutdown

07/04/05

1. Happy 4th! Arts Freed From State Shutdown

2. Arts Continue to Do Well on Federal Level

1. Happy 4th! Arts Freed From State Shutdown

In a last minute repreive, the bill containing arts funding for the next two years was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. It was in the same bill that kept the parks open which was so widely reported on by the press last week. This means that the Minnesota State Arts Board and all eleven Regional Arts Councils will stay open for business. Also included in the bill was the Minnesota Historical Society, so that historical sites will also stay open.

In this move, the arts avoided both cuts and shutdown in yet another deficit year. This result was a culmination of the efforts of many people in the arts community, beginning with the group that met with the Governor early this year so that he agreed to recommend stable funding. Thanks are due to Rep. Gunther, our committee Chair in the House, Sen. Sams, our committee Chair in the Senate, and Sen. Richard Cohen, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, who all stuck with us throughout this tough deficit session. The large turnout at Advocacy Day helped tremendously, as did the cards, letters and emails sent by the arts community over the past several months. Thank you to everyone, including the hard working members of the MCA Board, who had a hand in this outcome. We could not further the cause of the arts if it weren’t for people like you!

So, have a Happy 4th of July, and celebrate the independence of the arts!

2. Arts Continue to Do Well on Federal Level

We have good news to report. On June 28, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) withdrew from consideration his floor amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill which would have cut FY 2006 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by $5 million each. It became clearÊto Sen. CoburnÊthat his amendment had little supportÊfor passage, in large part because of the outcry from thousands of grassroots advocates. The Senate then passed the bill with arts funding intact. The House and Senate will convene a conference committee the week of July 11 to craft a final bill, reconciling any differences between their separate versions.ÊWe favor the House version, because it containsÊaÊhigher funding levelÊfor the NEA, and also because it would fully fund the NEAÕs Challenge America program, which primarily supports arts programs in underserved areas.ÊTherefore, we encourage you to contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to support the House-approved level of $131.3 million, including full funding for Challenge America, during the House-Senate conference.

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Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is a non-partisan statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community and lobbies the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress on issues pertaining to the nonprofit arts. If you are interested in learning more about how to advocate for the arts, or how to activate people in your arts organization or community to lobby for the arts, please call us at 651-251-0868 or e-mail mca@mtn.org.