Again throughout today people have been meeting with their legislators via zoom. Behind the scenes, Operations Manager Mark Albers and our interns Jennifer and Keana are running meetings and continuing to schedule more with legislators. 28 meetings were held today. Two more days to go!
From Advocate Laura Seter:
"We just got off a feel-good call with District 2A’s Senator Utke. I’m so psyched about this call- it was the first time in ten years of Arts Advocacy that 15 people were present from my region to speak directly to the impact of the arts in a single legislator’s district. Total win for technology and coordination. Absolute win for the arts. THANK YOU Arts Action Week TEAM!"
From Arts Action Week Chair Michael Jon Pease:
“Great news! Just off a great visit with Rep. Ami Wazlawik. She remains a staunch supporter of the 47% Legacy law as well as the Governor's budget recommendation for the arts. She was impressed with how the arts have reached the disability and home-bound community during COVID by pivoting to online offerings and hopes that that outreach can continue when we all reopen. She did acknowledge that there is a need for access to technology on both sides of the equation - for artists/organizations and for community members. Rep. Wazlawick echoed Rep. Moran's comments that the legislature's use of technology is connected them with more and more constituents and that she sees that continuing vs the old days of asking constituents to drive in from greater MN and spend a day in the cities to give 10 minutes of testimony. Overall, an upbeat and heartwarming meeting. Keep up the great work all!”
Report from Advocate Hal Cropp: "A group of constituents, ably supported by (MCA Board Member) Sean Dowse, (also) representing the Minnesota State Arts Board, had a very cordial chat with Sen. Draheim, who is well informed of the role the arts play in his district and whose mother was a former arts teacher now engaged in creating arts activities for seniors."
From Advocate Leslie LeCuyer:
"A group of us met with newly elected Senator Aric Putnam. Aric has served on our grant panels in the past and is very familiar with our work. He will be a staunch advocate for our system and the arts. We also met with Senator Jeff Howe, formerly Representative Howe. He committed to the 47% and spoke highly of the arts. He said that the arts touch all of our lives. Following Senator Howe, Linda Brobeck and I met with Senator Bruce Anderson from Buffalo. He sounded very supportive as well."
(Photos provided by Advocates Laura Seter, LaTia Childers and Peg Churchwell).
FAYE PRICE RECEIVES
MCA'S LARRY AWARD
MCA thanked unsung arts advocacy hero Faye Price with the “Larry Award," presented by MCA Co-Chairs Mary Ann Aufderheide and Ross Willits.
Faye has served on the MCA Board since 2008 and served as Board Chair from 2013-2015. Faye is the co-Artistic Producing Director and co-Center Director of Pillsbury House + Theatre in Minneapolis, where she has helped to lead the transformation of Pillsbury House, a 135 year old community service center, and Pillsbury House Theatre, a 27 year old professional theatre, into a one-of-a-kind, center for creativity and community. She has performed on many national stages and was a founding acting company member of both Mixed Blood Theater and Penumbra Theatre where she remains a company member. Faye directed the world premiere of Nina Simone: Four Women at Park Square Theatre, A Crack in the Sky at the History Theatre and most recently The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963 at the Kennedy Center. Awarded the very first August Wilson Fellowship to study Dramaturgy and Literary Criticism, Faye received her graduate degree from the University of Minnesota.
Faye said, "Thank you for this very heavy and beautiful award…I appreciate it, I appreciate being a member of the arts community in the State of Minnesota. I love this state, I love the arts that go on in this state and I want to continue to support the arts as much as I can. I discovered as President of the Board that Minnesota is heralded nationally in terms of their support of the arts. In terms of the artists and their activism and the fact that you’re here today and wanting to talk to legislators and supporting the arts and asking for the money that is in law and reminding folks that we need to keep this support up, I think is evidence of what kind of arts community we have. Especially in the face of such a horrible year in 2020, I just want to encourage all of you to stay positive, know that this will pass, and the arts are going to help this pass -- help us, help the world through the series of crisis that we’re living through. So, do the work, folks! Don’t take the arts for granted. And thank you so much for the Larry Award, it means so much to me.”
Our goal is to deliver the SAME MESSAGE to all legislators using our own stories.
Think about what you can (briefly) say about:
How has COVID impacted the arts organization your work with or your life as an artist?
How have you rallied to serve the public despite the challenges?
Because of this crisis it’s even more important to protect arts funding so..."Please support the law that dedicates 47%
of the Legacy Arts & Culture Fund to the MSAB/RACs
and the Governor’s General Fund recommendation for the arts."
THE RALLY: NEWS FROM D.C.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar: Senator Klobuchar was the Chief Author of the federal Save Our Stages legislation.
“Great art can be found throughout our state, and it is the thread that connects our communities…And like you, I know how important it is to empower the arts in every community. If you want support for the arts, you make sure that people respect and know about the arts everywhere in our state and in every community...That is why I am proud to support the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities. Their mission is to strengthen our nation’s creative capacity…There is no more time like now to talk about the value of the arts because people have been so lonely, we’re unable to go out to the type of events we used to go to whether it is an art opening, whether it’s a play, and that makes it tough. But one of the I guess silver lining of this is that people are yearning for that kind of connection…They need the arts more now than ever.”
Senator Klobuchar had a lot more to say and even gives a tour of the art in her office. :) We'll be loading her full video clip onto our YouTube channel soon.
U.S. Representative Betty McCollum: For the past six years Rep. McCollum has Chaired the committee that funds the NEA and NEH.
“For the past six years… I have battled to protect, defend and promote federal funding for these critical cultural agencies. It has not been easy as you well know. It’s taken determined advocates and legislators to overcome the immense physical and political pressure to make cuts. As Chair, it was my priority not just to produce the same funding for the NEH and NEA but to increase investments and to strengthen our cultural agencies. I made that commitment knowing that the previous administration had sought to eliminate all funding for the NEH and the NEA in every budget they submitted to Congress. Throughout my career, I’ve had Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and Americans for the Arts as trusted partners and allies.”
MCA is committed to the safety and wellness of our arts community, so MCA has canceled our day on the hill this year and instead will hold a VIRTUAL Arts Advocacy WEEK.
Your legislators need to know that their constituents support the arts. Please take five minutes to thank them for continued arts funding, and let them know that when you invest in the arts, the Arts Give Back.
As the crisis deepens, the effects on the arts community has been severe. With all of the theaters, museums and other venues closed, events canceled, and people losing their jobs, the economic impact on Minnesota and on the arts is huge. We realize that these problems will be faced by all Minnesotans - our hearts and our talents will be a part of the recovery. But it means that there will also be lasting damage to our arts community and to the public who we serve.