Archive for the ‘action alert’ Category

ARTS ACTION ALERT! Want a center for arts in Chapel Hill? Let your council know!

 

Chapel Hill Museum building

Want to help create a vibrant center for arts in Chapel Hill?  A proposal for creation of the “523 Center” in the old Chapel Hill Museum, located at 523 E. Franklin Street, has been submitted to the Chapel Hill Town Council and will be considered at their meeting on May 9.  For more information, and tips on how to show your support for this proposal, read on!

 

A little background

This idea began after the Council asked the Parks and Recreation Department to get public input into how to use the building, as it was vacant following the museum closing. At a public hearing on December 7, 2010, attended by 70 people, many ideas were presented, but the majority of proposals involved use of the building for some form of arts programming or arts center.  After the meeting, the Town, through its Cultural and Public Arts Department, began using the building as a place to program cultural arts activities and as a meeting space for local community organizations.  As Jeff York, Cultural & Public Arts Administrator for the Town, described, “It really took off.  The place just seemed alive.”  Events included 400 in attendance at the opening of the “Local Histories, The Ground We Walk On” exhibition organized by elin o’Hara slavick, a UNC art professor, as well as regular group meetings, theater rehearsals, and exhibition related lectures.

What is at stake

The issue before the Town Council on May 9 is the continued use of the facility by the Town’s Cultural and Public Arts Department for programming.  Specifically, the Town’s Public Arts Commission has requested a budget allocation of  $78,500  to continue operating 523 E. Franklin Street as a cultural arts venue for 2011-12.  The proposed budget covers staffing, operations, programming and utilities, but does not include funds for maintenance and repairs.

See the Proposal to the Council, a summary of public comments, as well as the “Cultural Arts and 523 building Concept Statement” here.

The issue was presented to the Town Council at their last meeting but tabled for the May 9 budget meeting. While there was support for the proposal, there were concerns raised by some council members.

The Town of Chapel Hill has very limited space for arts programming.  At this point, the Cultural and Public Arts Department uses space in the Town Hall and other town buildings, and the Town provides some monetary support for the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, but the Town has no space dedicated to the arts.  The 523 E. Franklin building gives them the dedicated space needed to expand their programming.   In comparison, other towns in the Triangle have created or are creating arts centers (ArtSpace, Sertoma, Pullen, CAM in Raleigh, and the Durham Arts Council building, Cary‘s new arts center, etc.) and are not only benefitting from the programs and events offered at these spaces, but are also benefiting economically from the vibrancy these spaces add to their towns and the visitors they attract. Chapel Hill simply needs such a facility.  The Creative Community needs to get behind the Cultural Arts Office and support this effort.

How to show your support!

Individual action works and this is especially true at the local level.  Your elected officials want to know how their constituents feel about an issue.  So, if you live in Chapel Hill and support the continued use of 523 E. Franklin by the Cultural and Public Arts Department, call, write or email your city council and Mayor NOW.  Here is their contact information.  It’s easy and quick to do.

Don’t know what to say?  You can tell them a personal story about how the arts in Chapel Hill have benefited your family or business and that you want more of it.  Or you can simply tell them that you support use of 523 E. Franklin as an arts center.  Making the contact and registering your support of this effort is the most important thing, it is not how well you say it.

523 Franklin as part of growing arts programming in Chapel Hill

523 Franklin is part of the Cultural Arts Concept Statement submitted by the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission to the Council in its last meeting. Although this Statement only talks about future possibilities, and with the current economy it is not clear when such programs could move forward,  the retention of the use of 523 Franklin is key to the future of arts and culture programming in Chapel Hill.  Jeff York sees the creation of the space as an arts incubator.  As he writes in his Concept Statement.

The Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission recognizes that 523 East Franklin Street is a desirable facility in which to test and refine many elements of a cultural arts program. One concept for launching a cultural arts program at 523 East Franklin is that of an arts incubator that would be a community-based public resource, flexibly managed, collaboratively programmed, and innovative in spirit. The 523 Arts Incubator would support existing and emerging artistic ventures in a growing art community that both nurtures local arts traditions and seeks understanding through the arts of Chapel Hill’s place in region, nation, and world. As a community-based public resource, the 523 Arts Incubator will be available for exhibitions, cultural activities, meetings, programs, and events related to its mission. The facility and programs will be flexibly managed and open to both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Collaboration will be encouraged, including public-private partnerships.

Collaboration as key to future use

As noted in the concept statement, the Town sees collaboration with public and private entities as an important component of the future use of the 523 Franklin building.  If the continued use of the building is approved by Council, the Town Arts Department is currently working with elin o’Hara slavik on an agreement for slavik to oversee use of and curate part of the building for shows and to allow students to learn the business of art administration and curation.  Under this agreement, slavik’s time would be paid for by UNC, which would save the town money, while allowing the space to be open longer and more programming for the Town to enjoy.

TO SUPPORT MORE CREATIVE ARTS PROGRAMMING IN CHAPEL HILL, CALL OR WRITE YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER NOW.  LETS WORK TOGETHER TO SUPPORT THIS EFFORT!

Beth

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Urgent Call to Action-Arts grants cut 23%

I spent the last two days at Arts Day 2011, that great annual advocacy event organized by Arts NC, where arts advocates from across the state meet in Raleigh for two days of networking, education, but most importantly, visiting our locals legislators and talking to them about the importance of the arts and culture industry to the state and asking for their continued support.

Sen. Stein and Rep. Weiss address the Wake County delegation at Arts Day.

Although it was fun as always to see so many amazing arts people in one room (400 people!), the mood this year was certainly different.   Given the economic issues faced by the State, our message from Arts NC was to support Governor Perdue’s budget, which proposed a 10% cut to the Department of Cultural Resources.  In our meetings with legislators, however, we heard from many that the cuts would likely be worse, although noone had specific information.

Well, by the end of the day, our worst fears were realized. The draft budget, released yesterday afternoon, proposed a 23% cut in the grants program for the North Carolina Arts Council ($1,500,000) and a 15% overall Department of Cultural Resources reduction. This can be changed, but only if people who know what the arts and culture industry do for our State and what the Department of Cultural Resources, and its grant program, do for this industry, take action.  We all need to contact our state legislators, but more importantly at this point, the members of the Appropriations Committee and House General Government Committee.

Arts NC has sent out the following Call to Action:

IMMEDIATE ACTION IS REQUIRED. This unfair recommendation can be changed by the Appropriations Chairs and Republican members of the House General Government Committee.

Be strong, loud, and respectfully angry. Keep it short but clear. Use only one of the following points in your own words. Complete this Call To Action no later than Thursday, 12 noon. Forward this Call to others and strongly encourage action.

THE CONSTANT MESSAGE SHOULD BE:   RESTORE THE CUTS TO THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL’S GRANTS PROGRAMS TO THE GOVERNOR’S RECOMMENDED 10%.

Why would the leadership in North Carolina disproportionately target an industry that:

  • Produces programs and revenue in all 100 counties?
  • Produces $223 million in revenue and serves 9 million attendees yearly?
  • Matches every dollar of state money with an additional seventeen dollars?
  • Will be forced to raise ticket prices and therefore negatively affect the local economy in related spending in restaurants and retail?
  • Is good for business in our state?

THE ARTS ARE REVENUE PRODUCERS, NOT REVENUE CONSUMERS!

Call To Action:

Call the Raleigh offices of the House Appropriations Chairs:

Representative Harold Brubaker -919-715-4946, Harold.Brubaker@ncleg.net

Representative Jeff Barnhart: 919-715-2009, Jeff.Barnhart@ncleg.net

Representative Mitch Gillespie: 919-733-5862, Mitch.Gillespie@ncleg.net

Representative Linda Johnson:  919-733-5861,  Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net

Call the Raleigh offices of the House General Government Chairs: (Republicans)

Representative George Cleveland – 919-715-6707, George.Cleveland@ncleg.net

Representative Dale Folwell – 919-733-5787, Dale.Folwell@ncleg.net

Representative Glen Bradley – 919-733-5860, Glen.Bradley@ncleg.net

Representative Mike Hager – 919-733-5749, Mike.Hager@ncleg.net

Representative Kelly Hastings – 919-715-2002, Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net

Representative Grey Mills – 919-733-5741, Grey.Mills@ncleg.net

Representative Ruth Samuelson – 919-715-3009, Ruth.Samuelson@ncleg.net

Representative John Torbett – 919-733-5868, John.Torbett@ncleg.net

Send an email only if you are unable to reach the Raleigh office.
For additional advocacy information, see Arts North Carolina’s new website at www.artsnc.org.  Please forward responses to your communications to Arts NC’s email.

I will add my personal request to EVERYONE to do this.  Although you may not think you will be personally affected by cuts to grants from the NC Arts Council (see their grantees here) the impact of these groups is far reaching.  Not only do their events fill restaurants and enliven downtowns, they teach our kids, help create community, create jobs and make our towns great places to live.  The economic impact of these groups goes beyond tax impact and retail impact, and these state leaders are forgetting that.   The impact will be felt strongly in the vibrancy of our communities, and that, in turn, will make our region, and this state, a less desirable place to live.  The majority party, which is behind these cuts, say they are only thinking of jobs in making these cuts, but these cuts will cost the state money, jobs, and affect future growth.  Some may say this argument is a stretch, but I say those that think so are not paying attention, or maybe they should just ask their kids what makes their towns a great place to live.

I will also echo Arts NC’s request to make these calls/emails personal.  If you have a personal story on the impact of the arts on your community, your life, your family, or your work, tell it to them.  If you know anyone in the legislature, use that connection.

The Creative Community in the Triangle and the broader community that supports it, need to be heard on this issue.  We are an economic force.

Beth

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If you value the arts, be an advocate now!

As I have mentioned before on this blog, and if you are at all paying attention to the news, you certainly know that this is a difficult year for the arts and culture community.  State, local and national budgets are low and there will be cuts.  So, all of us who care about the health of arts and culture in our community NEED to become advocates.   For more on this issue, read Byron Woods piece in the Indy, as well as the recent blog post by Karen Wells, Arts NC’s Executive Director.

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If you want to learn more about how to be an advocate, Arts NC is having a three advocacy workshops  in the Triangle.

Raleigh: Tuesday, March 8, 12 noon, United Arts, 110 South Blount Street

Durham: Monday, March 14, 11:30 a.m, Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris Street, Monday

Chapel Hill: Monday, March 28, 2 p.m, Playmakers Repertory Company, Paul Green Theater, UNC-Chapel Hill

Come to these sessions, meet like-minded people in the Triangle and learn to fight for the Arts.

A second way to join in this fight, is to come to Arts Day 2011.  Organized by Arts NC, Arts Day is a two day event.  The big event takes place on April 12, when arts supporters from across the State gather at the NC Legislature to meet with their local delegates and tell them stories about the importance of the arts in their communities.  The day before, April 11, we gather at the NC Museum of Art to hear from Arts NC  and the NC Arts Council about the “state of the arts” and our “game plan”  and strategy for the next day.  There will also be a docent led tour at NCMA and a reception at ArtSpace, so there is lots of time for networking.  Last year was my first Arts Day and I it was a fun and rewarding experience.

Supporters of the arts and culture community in the Triangle have it easy, as we are right here in the home of the NC Legislature, unlike the many other delegations that will be driving in from across the State.  So, we need to turn out in large numbers to make sure our story is heard and that our arts and culture organizations are not taken for granted or deemed a “luxury” in the 2011 budget.

Here are the details:

If you care about arts and culture in the Triangle, I hope you can join me at both the Arts Advocacy workshops AND Arts Day 2011.

Beth

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