MSAB Restores Some Artist Grants

3/28/03

1. MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD RESTORES SOME INDIVIDUAL ARTIST GRANTS
2. NATIONAL ARTS PICTURE HEATS UP
3. STATE ARTS FUNDING THREATENED: CALL OR WRITE YOUR LEGISLATOR
4. VOLUNTEER TO SAVE THE ARTS

1. MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD RESTORES SOME INDIVIDUAL ARTIST GRANTS

Yesterday the Minnesota State Arts Board used private reserve funds to restore a portion of the Individual Artist grants that had been cut due to Gov. Pawlenty’s unallotment in February. Minnesota Citizens for the Arts’ board of directors unanimously voted to encourage the MSAB to take this move. This will restore about half of the Individual Artist grants that were cut this year. By using private funds unallotted for other uses, the State Arts Board’s action will not affect its overall state funding.

In the current fiscal year, only the Individual Artist and Folk Arts grants had been unfairly affected by cuts so we are glad to see some of the money restored. For information on the new deadlines and process for these grant programs, call (651) 215-1600, Toll-free (800) 8MN-ARTS, TTY number (for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) (651) 215-6235, or e-mail msab@arts.state.mn.us.

Why was this action necessary? In February Gov. Pawlenty, in response to a deficit in the current fiscal year, cut a number of ongoing programs and services. This cut, called an “unallotment” was intended to bring the state’s budget into balance before the fiscal year ended on June 30, 2003. This is a different issue than the 40% reduction in state arts money that the Governor has proposed for the next two years. (See below).

2. NATIONAL ARTS PICTURE HEATS UP

National Arts Advocacy Day was held earlier this week in Washington, D.C. by Americans for the Arts. A small group from Minnesota visited our congressional delegation to talk about federal support for the arts and tax policy affecting philanthropy and non-profits. We had particularily good meetings in person with Rep. Betty McCollum (St. Paul), Rep. Jim Ramstad (Western Suburbs) and Sen. Mark Dayton.

One of the most important federal arts issues to Minnesota is an attempt to increase federal funding for the arts from approximately $115 million per year to $171 million. Minnesota benefits from NEA funding in two ways. The first way is through direct grants to various cultural endeavors around the state. You can see a list of these direct grants to Minnesota for 2003. The second way NEA funds get to Minnesota’s citizens is through a grant to the Minnesota State Arts Board which is then used to support granting all over the state. To contact your member of Congress with a quick email asking them to support arts funding, just click here. You can write your own message, or click on the pre-written “Support Cultural Agencies through Arts Advocacy Day!” message. The Americans for the Arts website also has position papers on various federal issues affecting non-profit arts.

3. STATE ARTS FUNDING THREATENED: CALL OR WRITE YOUR LEGISLATOR

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

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

There has never been a more important time to write to your legislator!

Despite a thousand people coming to the state capitol in the most successful Arts Advocacy Day in history, Governor Pawlenty has proposed cutting arts funding for the next two years by 40%. Obviously, the state’s deficit is affecting everything in the budget, and we’ve already stated that we know everything will be cut and we are willing to do our fair share. However, we think the proposal to cut the arts out of proportion to the state’s actual deficit is very unfair. We reiterate that the cuts to the arts should be no more than 14% (the actual size of the state deficit is 14%), rather than the now 40% cut.

A cut at this time of economic peril for Minnesota’s arts community would be devastating. In response to a recent MCA survey, 65% of arts organizations reported they expected deficits both this year and next, even after cutting services, programs, staff and wage freezes. Corporate and foundation support for the arts is also going down because of the bad stock market. This cut would affect everyone, because these funds reach every Minnesota county via the grants of the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils to individual artists, arts organizations, schools and community groups across the state. Some of your favorite arts programs may not survive.

We urge people to call or write their legislator about this unfair disproportionate treatment of the arts. You can get phone numbers and addresses here. You can add your voice to the choir of arts advocates. Contact the Governor too at (651) 296-3391 or 800-657-3717.

Here’s our message: “It’s unfair to cut the arts so much! Please keep arts cuts at or below 14%, the actual size of the state deficit!”

4. VOLUNTEER TO SAVE THE ARTS

Volunteers Needed! MCA needs your help contacting arts advocates to urge them to call their legislators about cuts to arts funding. Can you volunteer on one of these dates?

Mon. April 7, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Tue. April 8, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Wed. April 9, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Thur. April 10, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Sat. April 12, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Mon. April 21, 5:30 -8:00 pm
Tue. April 22, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Wed. April 23, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Thu. April 24, 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Location: MCA Office, 2233 University Ave W. #355, St. Paul (three blocks east of the intersection of University and Raymond). Please RSVP to Geri at mca@mtn.org or 651-251-0868. We’ll provide you with all the info you need, snacks, beverages, and UNDYING APPRECIATION! Advocates in Greater Minnesota area codes: We may be able to fax you calling to do from home. Let us know if you are available and we’ll see if there is calling to be done in your area code.