Postcard Campaign for the Arts

4/1/03

1. MCA TO CONDUCT MASSIVE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN
2. VOLUNTEER TO SAVE THE ARTS
3. BACKGROUND ON THE CURRENT CRISIS
4. HOW TO CONTACT YOUR U.S. CONGRESSPERSON ABOUT THE ARTS

1. MCA TO CONDUCT MASSIVE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN

“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 contact your state legislators. Have you done it yet? If you haven’t, we’re going to make it very easy for you:

We’ve printed 35,000 postcard sets asking state legislators to support the arts. Over 25,000 are already arriving in mailboxes across the state. We have 10,000 more in our office just waiting for you to send to your friends, relatives, and audience members. Can you help us spread the word? Just contact Geri Katz at 651-251-0868 or mca@mtn.org to find out how to get postcards to send out. (If you are in the metro, it would be great if you could drop by and pick them up).

See “BACKGROUND” below for details about the current situation for the arts at the Legislature, and how to find out who your legislators are.

2. 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? We have a short window of time to reach important legislators.

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!

ALSO: Advocates in Greater Minnesota: 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.

What else can you do? Get sets of postcards from MCA and send them to your friends, relatives, staff, board, or audience. Local advocacy events are being scheduled in certain districts. Check our events page to see if there is anything happening near you.

3. BACKGROUND ON THE CURRENT CRISIS

We all know that the state is dealing with a deficit that represents 14% of the state budget. But did you know that the Governor has proposed cutting the arts by 40%? That’s almost three times larger than the actual budget deficit, and it is unfair. A cut this big will decrease the availability of the arts in every Minnesota county. Your favorite arts programs may not survive.

The Legislature will decide in the next few months if it will go along with the Governor’s recommendation or do something else. We are now waiting for the committees in the House and Senate to make their first recommendations.

We can reduce the size of the cut by talking to our legislators about the importance of the arts to our communities. Over the past several weeks, MCA friends and members by the hundreds have been calling their legislators to ask them to protect arts funding. We still need make our voices heard!

**Please call or write your legislators and the governor to ask them to support the arts. You can get phone numbers and addresses of your state legislators here.**

Minnesota supports the arts through grant programs at the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils, whose grants and services reach EVERY Minnesota county. Nearly all of the arts programs and services you may have participated in across the state are supported in some way by these funds. (Click here to see state grantee lists).

In response to a recent MCA survey, 65% of Minnesota arts organizations reported they expected deficits both this year and next, even after cutting services, programs and staff and imposing wage freezes. Corporate and foundation dollars for the arts are also declining because of the bad stock market. A 40% cut in state funds, at this time of economic peril for Minnesota’s arts community, would be devastating.

4. HOW TO CONTACT YOUR FEDERAL CONGRESSPERSON ABOUT THE ARTS

National Arts Advocacy Day was held last 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 federal grants to Minnesota for 2003 at: http://www.arts.gov/learn/03grants/states1/MN.html). 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 federal arts funding, just click on http://capwiz.com/artsusa/home/. 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.