Posts Tagged ‘arts advocacy’

Arts Advocacy Brings More Money to Arts Statewide – What that means for the Triangle

 

By Ella Fang

Hand drawing money, isolated on white background

You may have heard the news that the NC General Assembly increased the North Carolina Arts Council budget in its last session.  Specifically, the new budget included these changes:

  • The Biennium (2 year) budget included a total increase of $800,000 non-recurring funding, including a $500,000 increase in Grassroots Arts Funds
  • Allocation of $715,422 for A+ Schools.
  • Total arts funding in the 2015 – 2017 Biennium budget went up $1,515,422 – a 14% increase in funding for grants and programs at the North Carolina Arts Council.

But what does this mean for the Triangle?

 

More Grassroots Funding for Triangle arts organizations

The Grassroots Arts Program (GAP) provides per capita-based funding for arts programming to all 100 counties across North Carolina ensuring opportunities for citizens to experience the arts in their own communities.  Grassroots money helps local arts organizations provide a diverse menu of arts opportunities, such as festivals, classes and performances, and also supports arts in schools, administrative overhead, and sub-grants to community agencies.  Grassroots funds are distributed to a designated arts organization in each county, which uses the funds for local programs and also regrants part of the money out to other organizations.   “Counties with more than 60,000 population are required to sub-grant/re-grant 50% of these funds. For some arts organizations, Grassroots funding is their only source for operating funds” said Leigh Ann Wilder, Arts in Communities Director at NC Arts Council.

Cary - Diwali

The Diwali Festival in Cary. Hum Sub is a receipient of a grant from United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County.

In the Triangle, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, Chatham County Arts Council, Johnston County Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission and Durham Arts Council distrubute Grassroots funds, often adding it to funding raised locally. “For us, it means we are able to provide nine more grants for the local arts community.” said Ragen Carlile, Vice President for Education and Community Programs at United Arts Council. This increased funding can make a real difference to the local arts organizations and artists that receive funding from their county arts councils. Click here for a listing of investments by county.  Read more about Grass roots Arts Funding here.

What are A+ Schools?

The A+ Schools Program “is a whole-school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to how teachers teach and students learn in all subjects.”  The program is creating and supporting a statewide network of A+ Schools – 50 so far – that have adopted the A+ philosophy and practice, and that make a commitment to participating in network activities. Learn more about the A+ Schools program here and find a list of the A+ Schools in your county here.

SmART Inititative

Another NC Arts Council program with a direct effect on the Triangle is the The SmART Initiative, which provides grants and leadership for municipal arts-driven economic development programs.  So far, four North Carolina municipalities have projects funded under this program, including Durham. The Durham project created, first, an Arts Vision plan to connect the downtown arts districts.  See that Arts Vision plan here.  Momentum from the initial SmART Initiative work has resulted in a successful NEA grant to continue this project. Read more about the NEA funded grant here.

Arts Advocacy works!

This funding increase is great proof that arts advocacy works! ArtsNC, the statewide advocacy organization for the arts, provided the leadership behind this successful effort. They organized advocacy events statewide to teach people how and why they need to fight for the arts and organized and led ARTS Day 2016, an annual two-day conference of art and action that draws hundreds of North Carolinians to their state capital to learn, network, celebrate, and speak with one voice on behalf of the arts. They also worked with local organizations to

13260917_1754856021462701_1422935195_n

Triangle ArtWorks Director, Beth Yerxa, led part of the Wake County delegation at Arts Day, seen here meeting with Rep. Yvonne Holley.

engage arts supporters to advocate for the Arts and give them the training and tools they need to be effective advocates.

Triangle ArtWorks worked with Arts NC to host such a regional training event, “Give a Damn About the Arts” on April 13, 2016.  To get a snapshot of that event, check out this video by Justin Gartman.  Arts advocates from across the Triangle also participated in Arts Day, meeting with their local representatives and telling them stories about how the arts impact their cities and their lives.

How do I apply for grants?

Triangle ArtWorks has links to all local and statewide granting opportunities on our website. Each county, and sometimes individual municipalities, have granting programs for nonprofit arts organizations, individual artists and arts projects.  The North Carolina Arts Council also supports arts organizations, emerging artists and individual artists. Find more information and links to all of these grant programs here.

Ella Fang is a new Raleigh resident, graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management. A strong believer that art works, she coordinates the International Festival of Raleigh, volunteers with local arts organizations, and fights for arts accessibility. In her free time, she loves painting, reading, and camping with her husband and their dog Smokie.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Call to Action for the Arts before 6/16 – Wake County

We have just received the following Call to Action from Arts NC:

Thank you for being a part of our action network!

Both the House and the Senate have appointed Conferees who will resolve differences in the two budgets. (The House budget included a $500,000 increase for Grassroots Arts Program as allocate by the North Carolina Arts Council. The Senate budget did not concur with the House.)

We now have a final opportunity–
and a real one–to encourage House Representatives to hold firm to their recommendation and for the Senate members to agree. Arts funding will be an issue in the Conference process. The game could go either way. It depends on what you are willing to do.

Sen. Chad Barefoot, Rep. Chris Malone & Rep. Marilyn Avila of Wake County…
…hold very important positions in the upcoming Conference process. We are counting on arts advocates to contact their key General Assembly member and help us secure the Grassroots Arts funding increase.

If you know these legislators personally, please place a telephone call and talk to the Legislative Assistant or leave your name on their message machine.
Sen Chad Barefoot: (919) 715-3036
Rep. Chris Malone: (919) 715-3010
​Rep: Marilyn Avila: (919) 733-5530

If you do NOT know these legislators personally,

Please drop a short, hard copy letter in the mail by noon on Thursday, June 16.

Sen Chad Barefoot: 300 N. Salisbury Street, Rm. 308, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

Rep. Chris Malone: 300 N. Salisbury Street, Rm. 603, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

Rep: Marilyn Avila: 16 West Jones Street, Rm. 2217, Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Make the letters short but personal, such as:

Congratulations on your appointment to the Conference Committee for the 2016-2017 State Budget. As a citizen of your district, I am asking that you hold firm to the House recommendation of a $500,000 increase for Grassroots Arts as allocated by the North Carolina Arts Council (or to your Senator…please concur with the House recommendation of a $500,000 increase for Grassroots Arts as allocated by the North Carolina Arts Council). Over 650 organizations in all 100 counties will benefit and 3.5 million citizens will be served by this remarkably efficient and effective grant program.

(Please conclude your written communications with a short paragraph about what the increase would mean in your county. This is important because we do not want the Legislator to think your communications are a form letter. Always end with a sentence of gratitude for their service.)

Thank you for your dedicated service to the citizens of North Carolina.

And please send an email to Arts NC at this address if you receive a response.

What’s at stake?

A resounding response to this Call to Action could have a major impact on the arts where you live. Wake County currently receives $203,047 in Grassroots Arts funding. The $500,000 increase would bring that amount to $244,422.
Take action no later than noon on Thursday, June 16.

Thank you, advocate!

Karen Wells
Executive Director

 

Learn more about the background of these issues on Arts NC’s Arts Advocacy page.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Arts NC Call for Action on Pending Tax bill

Karen Wells at Arts NC has issued a Call for Action regarding the NC Senate’s current tax bill.  As always, Karen and Arts NC have done great work in informing you of the issues and providing resources to take action, so I will just repeat their work here:

What is at stake – 

From Karen Wells email:  “I am writing with an urgent request for you to become actively and quickly involved in the Call to Action sent yesterday about Senate Tax Reform.  Let me spell out what is possible in Senate actions within the next few weeks:

  • If the Senate tax plan were to pass and if they base the budget on tax plan revenues, we will be short hundreds of millions of dollars from the current year’s revenue.  Add the Medicaid surprises and the cuts to the budget will be unprecedented.  If this goes through, we should expect debilitating cuts to the grants programs of the North Carolina Arts Council.
  • The Senate plan calls for a phase out of sales tax refunds over three years.  That would add 6.5% to the cost of goods and services that your purchase.
  • The Senate plan could require a collection of 6.5% sales tax on admissions, classes, registrations, and memberships.  Imagine the response to rising prices and your administration costs.The Senate plan would eliminate the charitable deduction for individuals.
  • The Senate plan would eliminate the charitable deduction for individuals.

Now think for a moment what these collective actions would do to our industry.  Almost unimaginable.  We are working with the NC Non Profit Center through the Alliance of Non Profits to fight, and there could potentially be a tsunami of responses.  But only if everyone does their part.”

What you should do now.
1.  Forward the Call to Action immediately to your listservs and email addresses with a personal request to take action.  While the Call is timed to complete on Friday at noon, it can continue into early next week
2.  Go to our Facebook page and share the Call with your Facebook followers and ask them to take action.
3.   Make your own phone call.

4.  If you receive a response from your Legislator’s office, please send information to Karen Wells at Karen@artsnc.org.

Tips for contacting the Senate/Talking Points

Contact your Senator and Representative about tax reform and the impact on non-profit organizations.  Call their Legislative office no later than Friday, May 17th, 12 noon, and ask to speak to your Legislator.  If you must leave a message, state your name and address and leave this message:
I am concerned that the Senate’s tax reform proposal phases out the sales tax refund allowed to nonprofit organizations.  I am equally concerned that some proposals suggest that nonprofit organizations collect and pay 6.5% sales tax on their admissions and performances, registrations to classes and events, and memberships. I ask that (name of Senator or Representative) NOT support any proposal that includes these two provisions.

If you speak to your Senator or Representative in person, use these talking points in addition to the message above:

  • I understand and support tax reform. As a citizen of North Carolina, I expect to be impacted by tax reform.
    However, nonprofit organizations should not be penalized in the tax reform process as suggested in the Senate’s proposal introduced last week.
  • Any tax proposal should be revenue neutral.  The Senate proposal would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from our current budget, which will likely mean additional and debilitating cuts to nonprofit organizations.
  • Nonprofit organizations will pay their fair share in tax reform if the sales tax is applied to a broader array of services such as legal and accounting fees.  Any additional impact on nonprofit organizations such as eliminating sales tax refunds or mandating nonprofits to charge sales tax on their programs is punitive.

For additional information on tax reform and its impact on nonprofit organizations, Go to our Legislative Agenda Page –http://www.artsnc.org/action-center/agenda/

CONTACT INFO:

To look up contact information for your Senator, go to:  http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/memberList.pl?sChamber=senate

To look up contact information for your Representative, go to:  http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/memberList.pl?sChamber=House

If you are not sure who your Senator or Representative is, go to:  http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx

TAKE ACTION NOW.

Tags: , , , ,

Tough road ahead for creative community…how do we respond?

Creating money.

Tough road ahead for creative community…how do we respond?

If you have kept up with the news lately, you know that rumors are starting to fly about potential budget cuts for the arts and culture industry.  The House Republicans have proposed to cut all funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities, as well as get rid of the Center for Public Broadcasting (LA Times Article, summary of proposals)  Most recently, the new South Carolina governor proposed budget cuts that would eliminate that state’s Arts Council (Charleston City Paper article).  Although these are only proposals at this point, they are certainly an indication of tough times a-coming.

You may wonder how federal and state funding may affect your work?  Well, state and federal funding supports arts organizations, large and small, as well as individual artists. These organizations put on festivals and shows, coordinate arts in schools, run performance facilities, give grants to groups and individuals, and hold education and other support programs we all rely on.  The void that the loss or reduction of programming at these organizations would create would be felt in all disciplines and ripple through the entire creative community.

But what can we, as individuals, do?

Statewide action

At the state level, there is an organization already working to maintain support and funding from the NC General Assembly….Arts NC.  Karen Wells, Arts NC’s Executive Director, has a great entry on this topic on her blog.  I suggest you read the entire entry, but think these two quotes are worth including:

“Yes, Virginia, there are boogey men who are suggestion complete elimination of the NEA, NEH, and public radio and TV.  And in North Carolina, rumors are flying that the General Assembly is considering appointing a committee to consider elimination of all grant funding to all non-profit organizations.  If an undertow picks you up and you panic, you stand a much greater chance of drowning.  Swim parallel to the shore and you just might work your way out of the great downward sucking motion.  Urgency, friends, not panic. ”

“We can do one of two things.  We can roll over and stick our heads under the covers of “this will never happen” as we watch the dismantling of the non-profit arts sector, or we can enter the debate in wholesale numbers.  ARTS North Carolina needs you to leave the sidelines if you aren’t already in the game, and bring lots of your friends with you.  We must get ready quickly, very quickly, and be proactive in proposing the role of arts as an essential government service. “

Karen’s suggestions for action, at this point, are to join Arts NC and follow its listserv to help stay aware of what the NC legislature is doing, and to join your local delegation at Arts Day on April 11/12 to talk with your state legislators.  I went to Arts Day last year and not only was it great to meet with the legislators, but also to spend the day with arts supporters from across the state.  Arts NC does the legwork and makes it easy to participate.  Finally, Karen suggests that you write your state legislator and tell him or her why they should support the arts.  Arts NC has some great resources here.

Triangle region action

One of the reasons that Triangle ArtWorks was started was to provide a method for the community to keep up with issues that affected them as an economic group, and a simple way to disseminate information the community needed to respond to these issues.  The creative community is a strong economic force in this region.  It is time the community started working together to support itself, as other economic groups do.

To keep up with local political issues affecting the Triangle’s creative community, just follow ArtWorks on Facebook or Twitter.  We follow all local, statewide and national arts organizations and arts news sites and post relevant news. Should there be a call to action, we will let you know.

We also need to be developing relationships with our local government leaders, not just our state leaders.  Our local county commissioners and city councils members need to hear from us and know us.  Information from local people making an impact on the economy in their county or city is vital for them to hear.  They need to hear your stories and understand, in a personal way, our community’s impact on the economy.

Keep in mind that while contact with your local leaders in time of “urgency” is important, it is a good idea to work on relationships at all times. ArtWorks has links for local councils and commissions here.  If your local leaders hold a “meet the public” type meeting, go and introduce yourself, write a letter, send an email.  Invite them to your shows, events, or openings. You can be sure other economic groups are doing it.   The creative community has simply got to get better at it.

Clearly, you will be hearing more from ArtWorks on this issue in the coming months.   To help get the word out and build this vital communication network, tell your friends about ArtWorks.  If you hear news that is important to the community as a whole, let us know.

As always, we want to hear from you, so post thoughts and comments below, or contact us directly at info@triangleartworks.org.

Thanks!

Beth

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,