The Lind House Association in New Ulm hosted a coffee party to advocate for the arts with Minnesota House Rep. Paul Torkelson on Friday, March 1.
The event was co-sponsored by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council.
Torkelson has served on the Minnesota House Legacy Funding Committee since it's inception in 2008.
Arts funding has had a large impact on the communities of Brown County. Arts Legacy Funding enabled the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council in fiscal year 2012, to award 160 grants which totaled $323,574.
Thirteen area students received a youth scholarship through the Arts and Cultural Heritage funds. Those receiving grants in the Sleepy Eye area include Ben Draper, Luke Draper, Karlie Heiderscheidt and McKenzie Hoffman. In addition, Brown County Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth was awarded a $500 grant and the Brown County Historical Society received a $2,850 grant.
So far in financial year (FY) 2013, 11 grants have already been awarded totaling over $7,000. Because FY 2013 is still in progress, many grants have yet to be awarded.
In 2008, Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution to protect drinking water sources, to protect, enhance and restore wetlands, prairie, forests, fish, game and wildlife habitat, to preserve arts and cultural heritage, to support parks and trails and to protect, enhance and restore lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater.
The Legacy Amendment increases the state sales tax by three-eights of one percent that began July 1, 2009 and continues until 2034. The additional sales tax revenue is distributed into four funds; 33 percent to the clean water fund; 33 percent to the outdoor heritage fund; 19.75 percent to the arts and cultural heritage fund; and 14.25 percent to the park and trails fund.
The Arts and Cultural Heritage monies supports art, art education and arts access and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. Based on current sales tax revenue, Minnesotan’s will invest more than 1.2 billion in arts and cultural heritage fund projects and programs over the 25 year life of the tax.
Torkelson told the audience at the Lind house on Friday that the state’s economy affects these funds and with Governor Dayton's proposal to broaden sales tax, this fund could see a windfall.
“I’m proud of the wide array of activities that are happening in my district,” Torkelson added, saying that he will do everything he can to protect these funds from taking on a windfall.
People from every corner of the state will meet together in St. Paul today (March 7) at the state capitol for Art Advocacy Day. The day begins with a rally and then teams will talk to legislators about why it is important to support the arts.
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