Posts Tagged ‘arts nc’

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


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.

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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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Big Changes to Statewide Arts in the Budget

Thanks to the statewide Advocacy group, Arts NC, for this update on how the newly passed 2017/2017 Biennieum Budget affects how the arts are funded and regulated across the state.  To get the information out to you quickly, I attach the contents of their latest email, in totality, below:


Newly Formed Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

Did You Feel the Earth Shift?

When Governor McCrory signed the 2015-2017 Budget into law last week, the Department of Cultural Resources was merged with programs from Natural Resources to become the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Secretary Susan Kluttz, thankfully, remains in charge.

What does this mean for the arts? Frankly, we don’t know. We have been assured that “nothing will change”. But we want change. We have long been positioning our arts agenda to become a priority with our Governor and Legislature and to ensure increases in public support.

To that end, the budget contains an additional $1,015,422 in the two year budget to support Grassroots Arts increases ($300,000 total) and A+ Schools ($715,422). Thanks to your amazing work as advocates, this represents the first increase (6.5%) the North Carolina Arts Council has received for program support in the past eight years.

Please note that not all departments received increases, and many saw additional cuts. Advocates, be proud of your informed, effective, and passionate work that has helped make arts support a priority with the Legislature!

Department of Natural
and Cultural Resources

To realize the historic shift in Cultural Resources you just have to consider the magnitude of programs that have been incorporated into the newly formed department: State Parks, the Zoo, The Aquariums, The Museum of Natural Science, Grassroots Science Museums, Historic Preservation, and Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

The Numbers:
2015-2016 Cultural Resources $64,231,047
2016-2017 Natural and Cultural Resources $169,289,403
The Logical Conclusion:

The non-profit arts sector in North Carolina must respond to these changes with a corresponding increase in advocacy for public value and position. Our voices must be louder, clearer, more informed, more passionate, more strategic, more organized, more consistent, and more effective. Remember the national slogan, Art Asks for More? Yes we do.

We will work to keep you informed as news progresses.  You can also follow Arts NC on Facebook or twitter, or check out their website Action Center for more information.



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Arts Day – Putting Advocacy into Action at Arts Day

L-R - Beth Yerxa, Triangle Artworks; Cong. Alma Adams (12th District); Karen Well, Arts NC; Rebecca Scoggins, Arts & Business Council.

L-R – Beth Yerxa, Triangle Artworks; Cong. Alma Adams (12th District); Karen Well, Arts NC; Rebecca Scoggins, Arts & Business Council.

From March 22 to 24 this year, I took the train to Washington DC, on my time and my dime, to participate in Americans for the Arts Arts Advocacy Day 2015.  I joined Karen Wells from Arts NC, and Rebecca Scoggin from Arts and Science Council of Mecklenburg County and arts advocates from all across the Country.  We spent a day hearing statistics and stories of how arts impact not only the economy of our country, but our country’s cultural heritage, quality of life….and its soul  We met with Congresspeople from North Carolina and their staffers, we told them our stories about how arts were impacting our regions of the State, gave them hand outs with statistics from their districts and asked how we could help further.  At a federal level, the future of federal arts funding for the likes of the NEA, NPR, PBS and other great programs are on the line, as well as arts education.

Walking the tunnels on Capital Hill.

Walking the tunnels on Capital Hill.

Is it a tough sell in this political climate?  Yes.  Is it easy to get discouraged?  Absolutely!  But still we walked, and talked, and handed out information,  and we will do it again next year.  Because the arts matter.  And we need to make sure that those in political power see the numbers and hear our stories STRONGLY and REPEATEDLY.  It may not seem like it sometimes, but it makes a difference.  Advocating for the Arts matters.

Just ask Karen Wells.

Karen runs the statewide arts advocacy group Arts North Carolina.  She can tell you a lot of stories about how talking to legislators and telling them how what you all do every day makes a difference to people in their districts CAN make a difference in legislative outcomes. Karen has the statistics, but she needs YOU there to help tell our stories to YOUR legislators.

That is why ALL OF YOU need to participate in North Carolina Arts Day on May 19 and 20, 2015.

Living in the Triangle, we are lucky, because it is easy for us to participate in Arts Day.  The General Assembly is right here in the Triangle.  Arts supporters from across NC are loading up on buses, staying in hotels rooms…but all you have to do is drive over.

Mike Wiley gets the statewide crowd fired up at Arts Day 2014.

Mike Wiley gets the statewide crowd fired up at Arts Day 2014.

Arts Day is a two day event.   On the first day, Arts NC will give us the statistics and training we need to know to tell our stories.  And you will also get to hear from Frank Statsio, Shana Tucker, and Baba Chuck Davis about why the arts matter to them.  You will be educated, you will be moved, you will be inspired.  As a bonus, you get to be in a room with arts leaders, artists and arts lovers from all over the State.  What more could you ask for? (A social event that evening to chat with them all?  Got that too!)

Mike Wiley gets us fired up on Arts Day 1 in 2014.  ""

Part of the Wake County delegation meets with Rep. Avila (R. Wake) on the Legislative Day of Arts Day 2014.

Then on the Legislative Day on May 20, we will meet at the Legislature and hear from some of our biggest supporters in the Legislature, to get the tools and tips we need to advocate and GET FIRED UP!  Then you will join others from your county and go meet with members of your County’s delegation.

You can come both days or just the Legislative Day.  We REALLY need numbers for office visits on Legislative Day on May 20.  The arts voice needs to be strong and loud!  Do not worry that you have never done it before – there will be plenty of people, plus information and training,  to show you how!

Plus, Arts NC has an online Advocacy Tool-Kit!

Living in the Triangle, we have few excuses for not being there.  If you love the arts, you need to be willing to fight for the arts. Please join me at Arts Day. Register here.

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Update on Tax Reform -Tax on ticketing for performances, live events, films

New NC Sales Tax on “Amusements”

As most of you know, the amazing folks at Arts NC keep up with the actions of the NC General Assembly and how it affects the arts community across our State. Last session, the General Assembly pass a Tax Reform Bill which included a requirement that, starting in January of 2014, sales tax be charged for the following:

G.S. 105-164.4(a)(10) imposes a privilege tax on a retailer at the 4.75% general State and applicable local and transit rates of sales and use tax to admission charges to an entertainment activity listed below:

a. A live performance or other live event of any kind.

b. A motion picture or film.

c. A museum, a cultural site, a garden, an exhibit, a show, or a similar attraction or a guided tour at any of these 

An admission charge includes a charge for a single ticket, a multioccasion ticket, a seasonal pass, an annual pass, and a cover charge. An admission charge does not include a charge for amenities. If charges for amenities are not separately stated on the face of an admission ticket, then the charge for admission is considered to be equal to the admission charge for a ticket to the same event that does not include amenities and is for a seat located directly in front of or closest to a seat that includes amenities. When an admission ticket is resold and the price of the admission ticket is printed on the face of the ticket, the tax does not apply to the face price at the time of the resale of the ticket. When an admission ticket is resold and the price of the admission ticket is not printed on the face of the ticket, the tax applies to the difference between the amount the reseller paid for the ticket and the amount the reseller charges for the ticket. The reseller must retain in its books and records the amount originally paid for the ticket to be able to substantiate the amount of the resold ticket that is to be excluded from the tax at the time of resale.

Clearly, this new tax is a logistical, not to mention financial, issue for artist and arts groups, particularly ones with small staffs that now have to deal with collecting this tax.

Need help understanding the new law and its application?

NC Center for Nonprofits is hosting a webinar to help explain the impact of this bill.  Topics covered will include:

  1. Explaining which nonprofits and what types of events are subject to the tax and what is exempt.
  2. Describing the process for collecting and remitting sales tax.
  3. Answering all of your questions about the application and implementation of the sales tax on admission fees.

For more information and to sign up, click here.

Arts NC still working on possible delay or clarifications to the law.

Although the bill passed in the last Legislative Session, and is now law, Arts NC holds out hope that, due to the confusion about interpretation of the law, that there may be some movement regarding its application.  They have been working with other advocacy groups to get, at least, a delay in application of parts of the Bill.  So far, with no luck.

Here is the latest update from Arts NC.

The Revenue Laws Study Committee met this morning (Tuesday, October 8) to consider a number of issues related to Tax Reform including the amusements tax on cultural nonprofit organizations.

To follow is a “stream of thought” from meeting notes:

  • Legislative and Department of Revenue staff made presentations to the Committee on the Amusements Tax issue which can be found at NC  You will need to scroll through to the middle of the presentation to get to our issue. Department of Revenue staff also made a presentation on their opinion of who is exempt and who is not exempt under the definition of “state attraction”.  Exempt organizations according to DOR include but are not limited to Museums of Art, History, Science, the Aquariums, the Zoo, Historic Sites, the Battleship, and Grassroots Science Museums.  The 164 grantees of the North Carolina Arts Council that receive yearly state funding and the North Carolina Symphony were ruled by DOR staff to NOT be exempt. 
  • Representative Becky Carney of Mecklenburg was the first to speak and introduce the issue of confusion over the term “state attraction”, the unintended consequences of “winners and losers”, and the suggestion to delay implementation until a better definition of “state attraction” could be developed.  Other Legislators (Rucho, Moffitt, McKissick, Clodfelter, and Rabon) were adamant calling for a more narrow definition or completely eliminating the exemption for “state attractions”.  Please note that this issue does not fall into partisan divide.  
  • Carney also introduced the idea of a “delay”, but it was ruled the Revenue Laws Study Committee does not have the authority to change the law which mandates a January 1, 2014, start date.  However, there is a provision in the tax law that if an entity is making all efforts to implement the law but is unable to do so by the January deadline, the Secretary of Revenue could allow an extension if it is in “the best interest of the state.”
  • A small task force of Representatives Carney and Moffitt and Senator Rucho was appointed by Chair Julia Howard to meet and bring a recommendation on “state attractions” to the full Revenue Laws Study Committee which will meet again in November. 

Arts North Carolina will continue to work with the newly appointed “state attractions” Committee, other Legislative leadership, and the Department of Revenue to fully explore the position of “delay” until a final definition of state attraction is agreed upon and Legislation introduced in the short session to clarify the law as it is written.

Follow the Revenue Laws Study Committee at

Latest Clarification

Here is the latest info from Arts NC, as of October 28, 2013:

All organizations that sell tickets to live events should pay attention to this information: 

This interpretation was noted and verified by the Department of Revenue and should be passed along to legal departments, marketing departments, and ticketing services.   Find this information in the Tax Reform Bill at – – Section 5 (f).

The Revenue Laws Committee will meet on November 11, 9:30am, at the North Carolina General Assembly.  The ad hoc committee charged with making a recommendation on “state attractions” (Representatives Carney and Moffitt and Senator Rucho) is slated to have a report for this meeting. 




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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

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 –


To look up contact information for your Senator, go to:

To look up contact information for your Representative, go to:

If you are not sure who your Senator or Representative is, go to:


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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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