6/3/03

1. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE ARTS CUTS?
2. LETTER FROM MCA BOARD CHAIR
3. LEGISLATIVE ARTS ALL-STARS
4. FURTHER NOTES ON ARTS AS A CORE ACADEMIC SUBJECT
5. SOME ARTS PROJECTS FUNDED BY STATE BONDING
6. CONCEAL AND CARRY AND NON-PROFITS

1. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE ARTS CUTS?

THE CUTS The Minnesota legislature approved a 32% reduction in arts funding, decreasing it from $12,616,000 to $8,593,000 per year for the next two years.

THE IMPACT–IN GENERAL: State arts funding gets out to every Minnesota county via the grants and services of the eleven Regional Arts Councils and the Minnesota State Arts Board. (To see a list of grantees from the last couple of years: http://www.mtn.org/mca/List.html). A cut of this size means that access to the arts will decrease all across the state, in every corner of Minnesota. There will be smaller and fewer grants, funding fewer artists and arts organizations, funding fewer programs and services. Small organizations will have less access to grants through the Regional Arts Councils. Individual artists funded by Regional Arts Council and State Arts Board grants will be affected too. Large and medium sized organizations will have less grant resources for programs and services, which will reduce access to the arts for Minnesotans at all levels. This comes on top of the already tough funding climate for the arts in Minnesota. Our February survey of the state’s arts organizations found that 65% were predicting deficits this year, even after layoffs, wage freezes, and cuts in programs.

THE IMPACT–SPECIFICS:

Statewide STATE ARTS BOARD GRANTS were cut by the legislature by just under 30%. In response, on Tuesday, June 3, the MSAB met and decided what programming changes they would have to make for FY04 (beginning 7/1/03) as a result of the cuts: The Arts Board voted to discontinue its Arts Across Minnesota program, which has supported festivals and touring, and to fold elements of the Folk Arts program into the individual artists category. The other grant categories will be simplified, and funds for each reduced. Arts in Education and programs for organizations will be reduced by 25%, and grants for individual artists reduced by 9%. More details on the new program structure, applications and deadlines will be developed in the next month, so check MSAB’s website at http://www.arts.state.mn.us/.
STATE ARTS BOARD OPERATIONS were cut by the legislature by 60%. Some state arts board operations are funded by NEA dollars, so the overall cut to the operations budget is 37%. This means they will have to lay off some of their staff. It is terrible that these good people join the ranks of those already laid off by arts organizations due to the bad economy, and who will probably still be laid off by arts organizations as a result of grants cuts.
REGIONAL ARTS COUNCILS were cut by slightly less than 30%. Each RAC is determining independently how they will respond to the reduction in resources. Some are reducing grant sizes, some are reducing programs, some are decreasing the number of grants made. Contact your own local Regional Arts Council to find out the impact in your area. http://www.arts.state.mn.us/artsmn/amn8.html
WHAT WILL THE IMPACT BE ON YOU, YOUR PROGRAM OR ORGANIZATION?

We want to collect stories about the impact of these cuts for legislative testimony in the coming year. Please let us know what the specific impacts will be on you, your program, or your organization. Email anything you would like to share to: she-mca@mtn.org.

2. LETTER FROM MCA BOARD CHAIR

To all MCA members and supporters:

Although the results of this legislative session are not what any of us would wish, I take comfort in knowing that we did everything we could and that without our work, the situation would be much worse. MCA’s lobbyist, staff, volunteers and friends in the legislature worked very hard. We started well before the session began, trying every strategy known to man, and inventing a few new ones along the way. When I think about the fates of several other state arts councils around the country — some completely shut down, others losing well over half their funding — I am grateful we were able to protect as much as we did. State arts funding in Minnesota has survived and I believe we will someday recoup these losses. Thank you to everyone who helped in the fight. After a few weeks rest, the MCA staff and board will begin focusing our strength and energy to prepare for the next battle. We need your support more than ever.

-Barbara Davis, MCA Board Chair

3. LEGISLATIVE ARTS ALL-STARS

We like to say “thanks” to legislators who have been of great service to the arts community at the state capitol. Please thank these legislative friends for their help this session. This year’s Legislative Arts All-Stars are:

Senator Richard Cohen (D-St. Paul): Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Cohen has spent more than a decade as the arts greatest friend in the Minnesota Senate. As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he worked tirelessly to get the best deal possible for the arts this session. E-mail: sen.richard.cohen@senate.mn
Senator Dallas Sams (D-Staples): Chair of the Senate Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development Budget Division which had jurisdiction over the arts, he managed to reduce Gov. Pawlenty’s 40% cut to the arts in his committee to 16%. Unfortunately, the subsequent conference committee didnât reduce the cut to16%, but Sen. Sams did everything he could to help the arts. (Click here to send an e-mail to Sen. Sams.)
Senator Dennis Frederickson (R-New Ulm): A member of Senator Samsâ funding division as well as the conference committee, Senator Frederickson was unwavering in his support of the arts. He is a true friend. E-mail: sen.dennis.frederickson@senate.mn
Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont): Chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee, Rep. Gunther put an additional $1 million dollars in his budget for the arts, reducing Gov. Pawlenty’s 40% cut to 32%. While we wish that he would have reduced the cuts further, without this, the arts would have ended up this session with the 40% cut. He is also a true friend of the arts. E-mail: rep.bob.gunther@house.mn
Please thank these legislative friends for their help this session.

4. FURTHER NOTES ON ARTS AS A CORE ACADEMIC SUBJECT

The only good news of this session is the amazing win of Kathleen Maloney and the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education, who succeeding in making the arts a core academic subject in Minnesota’s schools. With friends in the Senate, Kathleen managed to get the arts designated as a core academic subject in the new standards. This means that schools will be required to provide all students with access to an arts education. This is good news for the future of arts across our state. Kathleen also created and led an effective coalition of arts education supporters who lobbied legislators with her, including leaders from the Perpich Center for Arts Education, the Minnesota Music Educators Association, Art Educators of Minnesota, Dance Educators Coalition, Communication and Theater Association. of Minnesota, Minnesota Elementary Principals Assocation, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, and others. Congratulations to Kathleen and to and the members of the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education for their success!

5. SOME ARTS PROJECTS FUNDED BY STATE BONDING

After many years of attempts and several vetoes by former governor Jesse Ventura, the Children’s Theatre and the Guthrie Theater have finally been approved for partial funding for their projects by the state legislature. The CTC will receive $5 million, and the Guthrie Theater will receive $25 million. State bonding money is borrowed by the state for construction projects, and is completely different than the general fund money the state spends on operations (such as the MSAB and RACs). Also funded, in the education section of the bill, was construction of the Trollwood Performing Arts School in Moorhead at $5.5 million.

6. CONCEAL AND CARRY AND NON-PROFITS

The Minnesota Council of Non-Profits has put out information to help non-profits deal with the new “Conceal and Carry” legislation. Check out www.mncn.org/cnc.htm