Posts Tagged ‘arts funding’

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.

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Groundworkk – How $5 Can Empower the Arts Community

By Amy Saltmarsh

There is a new method in the  Triangle to raise money for your creative idea. groundworkk is a monthly social event that connects local entrepreneurs, artists, and (for the evening) venture capitalists. On the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, a crowd pays a $5 door fee and gathers at a pre-selected venue (Raleigh’s Longview Center, the HUB Raleigh, Tir Na Nog, and Durham’s Mercury Studios, to name a few). From 6:30 to 8:30pm the crowd enjoy presentations, networking, and a light cocktail hour. Presentations start at 7:00 and presenters are given four minutes to pitch their creative ideas and projects to the audience. Each presentation is followed by six minutes of audience led Q&A. After the pitches, attendees enjoy food prepared by a local chef and then, it’s time to vote! At 8:30pm votes are tallied and the winner is announced. The winner is awarded the evening’s earnings via the ever symbolic mason jar. 

groundworkk founder Matt Konar, with first grounworkk "winner" Whitney Robinson.

groundworkk operates through Raleigh and Durham Executive Committees. Each committee is charged with selecting and mentoring presenters and assisting with event logistics. groundworkk Raleigh’s Executive Committee is comprised of Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim, Carolyn Jackson of Raleigh Charter High School, Matt Tomasulo of City Fabric, and Daniel Whittaker of Green Planet Catering. Durham’s Executive Committee is comprised of Katie DeConto of Mercury Studio,  Laura Ritchie of The Carrack Modern Art, and Krista Anne Nordgren of The Makery.

How to become a presenter.

Triangle entrepreneurs and artists submit their ideas to groundworkk via With the input of the Executive Committees, up to four presenters are selected each month. Leading up the the groundworkk event, presenters are assigned a mentor who assists them with the planning, conceptualization, and logistics required for their presentations. 

To date, groundworkk winners include: Whitney Robinson of Freshly Given, a leather accessory line; Chris Tonelli and Charles Wilkes of So and So Books, an up and coming downtown Raleigh bookstore; Aaron Gerry of Startup and Play; Owen Jordan of Resqd; and Chef Kabui of Organics and Sound, an all organic catering company in Durham. 

Upcoming events include:

DURHAM: Tuesday, 22 January 2013 at Mercury Studio
RALEIGH: Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at the Visual Art Exchange

For regular updates visit  

Amy is the Manager of the Midtown Farmers’ Market in North Hills and the Sales Manager for Green Planet Catering.  She’s also the behind the scenes charge for groundworkk and has a love of all things locally grown and created. 


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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.


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?


Call To Action:

Call the Raleigh offices of the House Appropriations Chairs:

Representative Harold Brubaker -919-715-4946,

Representative Jeff Barnhart: 919-715-2009,

Representative Mitch Gillespie: 919-733-5862,

Representative Linda Johnson:  919-733-5861,

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

Representative George Cleveland – 919-715-6707,

Representative Dale Folwell – 919-733-5787,

Representative Glen Bradley – 919-733-5860,

Representative Mike Hager – 919-733-5749,

Representative Kelly Hastings – 919-715-2002,

Representative Grey Mills – 919-733-5741,

Representative Ruth Samuelson – 919-715-3009,

Representative John Torbett – 919-733-5868,

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  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.


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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.


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.


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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



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