Posts Tagged ‘Karen Wells’

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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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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