In Five Minutes, You Can Save the Arts

So much is going on politically these days that you have to be a bit OCD just to keep up with it. I’m here to make your life easier by giving you a succinct rundown on what’s happening politically to the arts in MN and connect you to THREE easy things you can do to protect the arts. Do this now, by the way, there isn’t a second to lose.

Why is this important to a theater person like you?

Because the arts are supported financially not just by earned income but also by grants from individuals, foundations and public entities. The more money in the system, the more likely it is your theater job will still be here next year. It’s in your self-interest to speak up!



WORTH $5M to Minnesota Arts

First, the biggie: President Trump wants to eliminate next year the National Endowment for the Arts and the other cultural agencies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and PBS. Minnesota gets about $5M from the NEA that gets all over the states both in direct grants and in pass-through grants and services from the MN State Arts Board to organizations in every corner of the state. Last week he added to the insult by suggesting Congress should delete another $15M from the NEA’s CURRENT budget.  Most of Minnesota’s members of Congress support the arts and are members of the congressional Arts Caucus. Bolster their support by sending them a message here:



WORTH $36M to Minnesota Arts

Minnesota voters in 2008 passed the Legacy Amendment that included a dedicated funding stream for “art, arts access, arts education, and the preservation of our history and cultural heritage.” We are the only state in the country with dedicated funding for the arts in our state constitution (you can thank Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) for that, BTW). Although it’s dedicated, legislators have ever since its passage tried to find ways to divert the money to other things. Right now arts funding for the next two years is being decided. Ask your legislator to support stable arts funding:



The Only Arts Education Resource Center for the State

The Perpich Center has suffered from bad leadership the last few years and had a terrible audit by the Legislative Auditor this January, giving some legislators the idea to kill the Perpich Center. The problem is that The Department of Education does not have arts education specialists and relies instead on the Perpich Center to monitor and administer resources for teachers and students in arts education. This move would effectively replace 10-15 people who help with arts education statewide with a single person. It would not increase access to arts education resources or bolster all Minnesota students’ access to a strong education in the arts. We believe new leadership should be given the opportunity to accomplish the recommendations in the audit and reinvigorate the center and its operations. Please lend your support against this effort to abolish Perpich Center for Arts Education by sending a letter at

There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Sheila Smith, Executive Director, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and

Chair, Creative Minnesota Project @SheWhoTravels @MNCitizen