Metropolitan Regional Arts Council believes that the arts are essential to the creation and sustenance of thriving, vital communities, and that the arts should be supported by the participation of many people in arts activities and organizations, and by public and private funding. Therefore we consider advocacy an important part of what we do; but arts advocacy isn’t something that can be done for you–it requires your involvement to get these important messages out!
Traditionally, funders require written acknowledgement of a grant award. We ask, instead, that you send a thank you note to your legislators. MRAC monies are allocated by the Legislature through an appropriation and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. In order to ensure the continued availability of such funds, it is very important your legislators know that state arts funds are being used in their district and the types of activities these fund are supporting. Here is a SampleAdvocacyLetter for your use. Unsure of who represents you in the state legislature? The MN District Finder will tell you who your representatives are by typing in your address.
Arts Advocacy Day
MRAC works closely with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts to support the annual Arts Advocacy Day at the State capitol and ongoing advocacy efforts. Every year, hundreds of art advocates gather at the capitol for Arts Advocacy Day to show their legislators that arts funding is important to their communities. This is an opportunity to meet and network with artists and art supporters from around the state while showing your passion for the arts to legislators; watch for upcoming dates and sign up to join hundreds of your fellow arts supporters at the capitol.
While Arts Advocacy Day happens only once a year, legislation and important events that can affect arts organizations happen throughout the year. Visit this link to find all the current issues around support for the arts and take action easily and effectively: Arts Alert.
Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund
In 2008, the Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment passed and increased MRAC’s funding by 178%. This equaled approximately one million eight hundred thousand dollars in increased funding distributed by MRAC for arts development in the 7-county metropolitan area, and close to three million dollars for arts activities and arts infrastructure improvement altogether. The increase also allowed for the creation of two new MRAC grant programs: MRAC’s Arts Learning grant program and the ADA Access Improvement Grants administered by VSA Minnesota, which are solely funded through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. MRAC continues to distribute its portion of the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund to arts organizations and activities throughout our region. The most recent annual report is available here and details the grants and programs provided in the most recent fiscal year: FY16 Annual Report. For more information, visit the Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment at www.legacy.leg.mn/funds/arts-cultural-heritage-fund.
Creative Minnesota and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts released a new study in February 2017 indicating that Minnesotans strongly believe the arts and culture are important to their quality of life, and that Minnesotans attend and participate in the arts at a rate exceeding the national average. The 2017 Study Contains:
-Where are Minnesota’s artists and creative workers? Every corner of the state.
-Who are Minnesota’s 104,000 artists and creative workers?
-Creative jobs, demographics, spending and income, genres.
-What do artists give to communities and what do they need to succeed?
-Public opinion polling of Minnesotans about the arts.
-Update of economic impact study of Minnesota’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations.
Investigate all the research at the website: http://creativemn.org/