April 23, 2003

Please forward this email to the arts people you know: This is the easiest, fastest, and best way for you to show your support for the arts.

PLEASE SIGN MCA’S PETITION BY APRIL 30, 2003, which we will deliver to each and every state legislator shortly.

Governor Pawlenty has proposed a 40% cut in arts funding. The first week of May, 2003, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is going to deliver a copy of one huge community letter in person to all Minnesota legislators, asking that arts funding be restored. It will be signed by friends of the arts from all across the state. The names will be printed on the letter.

If you want to sign the petition, please e-mail she-mca@mtn.org with your name and hometown (where you vote). If you’d like to collect names for the petition yourself, print out the petition at www.mtn.org/mca/Letter03.html and then fax (651-917-3561) or email the names to us by April 30, 2003 so we have time to add them before we go to the Capitol. (Please do not send the letter directly to legislators. We want to deliver all of the names at once!)

Here’s what the community letter will say:

COMMUNITY LETTER TO THE LEGISLATURE

5/1/03

Dear Legislator:

The arts are important to Minnesota’s economy, quality of life, and future. One of the reasons Minnesota has a national reputation as a great place to live (despite our cold winters) is our world class arts and culture community. The arts draw tourists, prime the economic pump, and keep our cities and towns vibrant with life and activity state-wide.

We understand the seriousness of the state’s deficit and the need for cuts. The arts community is willing to do our fair share. However, the proposal to cut the arts is out of proportion to the state’s actual deficit. Because the arts represent less than 1/10 of 1% of the state’s budget (.00089), a cut of this size would have very little effect on the overall state deficit, but will cause devastation in the arts community. Cuts to the arts should be no more than 14%.

The arts are under threat. Attendance declined after 9/11. Corporate and foundation gifts are fewer and smaller because of the bad economy. Individual giving is threatened. A recent survey by MCA showed that 65% of reporting arts organizations will suffer deficits this year and the next, even after cutting services and programs, layoffs and wage freezes. And now Gov. Pawlenty has proposed a 40% cut in state funding.
State funding has contributed stability to the arts. A cut this large will cause further loss of arts programming across the state, in every legislative district, including yours. Between the grants of the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils, state arts funding reaches every Minnesota county. State arts funding leverages private giving. A 40% cut in state funds, at a time of economic peril for Minnesota’s arts community, will be devastating. Arts programs serving your constituents may not survive.
69% of the public believes government support for the arts is important, according to a new study in the seven county metro area by the Performing Arts Research Coalition, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. A 1998 survey by the Minnesota Center for Survey Research also found that 92% of Minnesotans believe that the arts are “very important” or “somewhat important” to their quality of life. Your constituents care about the arts.

Sincerely, Name Name etc.

POSTCARD CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Waves of postcards are beginning to arrive in legislative offices from our postcard campaign. There has never been a more important time to contact your legislator. Have you done it yet?

“Ten letters can influence a legislator.”- Rep. Alice Hausman

“If you don’t mobilize, you will lose.” Rep. Matt Entenza

If you haven’t contacted your legislators yet, use the simple postcards MCA sent you in the last two weeks. If you haven’t received your postcards by Friday, give us a call at 651-251-0868 and we’ll send you a set. We have more in the office if you want to distribute them among your arts friends. They must be mailed into your legislators by May 1!

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” -Lily Tomlin