Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Opening Night

ARTS North Carolina has prepared our industry for two major Legislative Agenda items – sustaining grant funding to the North Carolina Arts Council and passing a high school graduation requirement in the arts. Our message of the critical role of the arts in economic development and in training creativity for a competitive North Carolina economy has been heard as evidenced in Governor Perdue's budget recommendation to sustain the grants funding.

Now the stage is set and opening night is close at hand. The General Assembly convenes May 12 and ARTS Day is May 18 & 19. We kick off our advocacy work by coming to Raleigh and speaking face-to-face with Legislators and then sustaining the conversation until closing curtain, whenever that might be. Early registration deadline for ARTS Day is this Friday, and the hotel rates of $75 are only good through May 3. Time now to make your plan: artsday.artsnc.org.

ARTS Day is more than advocacy; it is an opportunity for learning, networking, and being infused with powerful, collective energy. Workshop and training leaders include:
  • Tuesday Workshop - It's the Economy...
    • Linda Carlisle – Secretary of Cultural Resources
    • Mary Regan – Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council
    • Ardath Weaver – Director of Research for the North Carolina Arts Council
    • Margaret Collins – Director of Creative Enterprises and the Arts - Piedmont Triad Partnership
    • Feather Phillips – Executive Director of Pocosin Arts Center (Columbia)
    • Barbara Spradling – Director of the Innovation Institute at the McColl Center
    • Rob Pulleyn – Artist (Marshall)

  • Wednesday Legislative Training
    • Louisa Warren – Lobbyist for North Carolina Justice Center (Advocacy 101 Presentation)
    • Franklin Freeman – Chief of Staff for Governor Jim Hunt, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and Senior Assistant for eight years to Governor Mike Easley
    • Secretary Linda Carlisle
    • Invited Legislators – Representatives Becky Carney, Rick Glazier, Linda Johnson, and Deborah Ross, and Senator Tom Apodaca
Be sure and plan time either before the workshops on May 18 or before you leave Raleigh on May 19 to visit the astounding and description-defying new galleries at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The galleries are free and open to the public. 

Legislative Update

Pitt County arts advocates Holly Garriott and Jane Behan and ARTS North Carolina staff met Tuesday with Representative Marion McLawhorn, a former librarian and true champion for the arts. At the breakfast table we articulated why arts education policy must be legislated.   Arts education is a "ready now" strategy to address issues of retention, rigor, and 21st Century Skills;  we do not need to invent new programs when strong and viable arts education programs are available.  The gap between what public schools need and what we have to offer is an issue of awareness, recognition, and value. If those who make decisions on behalf of schools don't connect public education needs with arts education, then our Legislative champions must have the vision and courage to implement policies that utlized the arts to improve education.  The gap cannot be about resources;  otherwise arts education would have more than flourished in the better economic environments. Arts education as an essential core subject has always been under resourced and reduced to a "nice to have" option.  NOW is the time to legislate and create arts education policy and be positioned when an improving economic climate can provide necessary resources.  If we wait until the state budget improves, we will have lost an opportunity. 

Legislative Report

ARTS North Carolina was in Fayetteville on Monday to visit with Representatives Marvin Lucas and Rick Glazier, then on to Greenville for Advocacy workshops and a meeting with Representative Marion McLawhorn.  Having voters set up meetings at home is significantly more productive than trying to have substantial discussion in the midst of competing priorities and crowded agendas that are the norm when the General Assembly is in session.  While we continue to celebrate Governor Perdue's recommendation of sustained funding for the North Carolina Arts Council grants programs, we are being told repeatedly that holding our own will take a lot of heavy lifting.  Given a choice, wouldn't we rather start the process ahead of "go" than not even on the board?  Uh, yeah. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Legislative Update

I thought that we would post the first blog of the legislative season today following a meeting with a Representative.  But yesterday his LA (Legislative Assistant) called to cancel.  Most LA's are extraordinarily nice and work dilligently to reschedule when cancellations are necessary.  They are the gatekeepers, the front line, the ones who deal with complaints and requests and impossible schedules.  And if you take the time to ask, you often find rich arts histories... "Oh, you're with the arts?  My daughter is an art history major"  or proudly  "I sing in the General Assembly Chorus."  Who knew there was a chorus.  Do they take lobbyist?
The cancellation serves to illustrate a legislative reality...things can change on a dime and often do.  What you think is a sure thing falls apart in seconds.  Sometimes lost causes become modern day miracles.  There is no end game, just an ebb and flo of process and relationships. 
When the session officially begins May 12, ARTS North Carolina will post regular updates on our blog.  Most postings will be official news, but we also plan on relaying some of the astounding sights and sounds of the North Carolina General Assembly.  This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Governor Perdue's Budget

Governor Perdue's 2010-11 budget (second year of the biennium budget) released today sustains 2010-11 grants funding for the North Carolina Arts Council as ratified by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2009-10. Despite the prevailing economic news, Governor Perdue's budget recognizes the major contributions the arts are making to economic recovery in North Carolina. The Department of Cultural Resources and Department of Commerce research released in November on the creative industries in North Carolina qualifies 300,000 jobs and $42 billion in products and services. Secretary of Cultural Resources Linda Carlisle continues to travel throughout North Carolina delivering the good news about the role of the arts in a creative economy, and the message is being heard loudly and clearly.

With other neighboring states suffering unprecedented reductions in public support, North Carolina is supremely fortunate to have leaders who understand and invest in the arts industry. We encourage everyone to post a thank you to Governor Perdue on her Facebook page. Tell her you appreciate her commitment to the arts and that you plan to work tirelessly to persuade the Legislature to accept her recommendation on arts funding.

The Governor's budget is only the first step of the budgetary process. The General Government Committees of the House and Senate will begin their work on the budget soon after convening on May 12. Upholding Governor Perdue's recommendation for grants funding is the top priority of ARTS North Carolina as the Legislative session begins on May 12.

Governor Perdue's budget just notched up the imperative to attend ARTS Day on May 18 & 19 and to tell your Legislators why investing in the arts means jobs and money for North Carolina. We also want you to infuse your Legislative discussions with the passion you have for the transformative power of the arts in communities and in our lives. Late registration begins after April 30 and increases the membership registration fee from $25 (a real bargain) to $45. If you are not currently a member, the individual rate of $60 before April 30 includes an individual membership good through June 30, 2011. Register now at artsday.artsnc.org.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ARTS Education = MORE Than You Think

In today's lead-up to arts advocacy season, consider these things about ARTS North Carolina's Legislative Agenda item to pass a high school graduation requirement in the arts:
  • The initiative is fully supported by the North Carolina Arts Council agency and their Board of Directors and the Department of Cultural Resources, Linda Carlisle Secretary. DCR has placed the requirement on their Legislative Agenda and is taking a leadership role in the passage of Senate Bill 66 in the North Carolina House of Representatives in the Legislation Session beginning May 12.
  • Because we passed the bill last year in the Senate (SB 66) we are 50% up the mountain.
Passing the requirement would:
  • Elevate the arts in practice to a core academic subject as stated in the Learning Framework for 21st Century Skills,
  • Insure public education equity because every student has engagement with the arts, and
  • Provide more incentives for federal, state, and local support of public school arts programs
The high school requirement is one action step in a comprehensive arts education program for public school in North Carolina. Additional policies to be considered once the high school requirement is passed include a middle school elective requirement, statewide policy for arts education in K-5, higher education teacher training in arts integration, support of A+ Schools, and funding for community and after-school programs that center on arts education.

Students who graduate from high school must have six electives. The law means one "former" elective in music, theatre, dance, or drama becomes a requirement. Additional teachers are not required; hires would now need to include people certified in arts education.

It will take five years to fully implement. The budget will improve in that length of time.
Want to Help?
  • Attend ARTS Day May 18 & 19 and join with hundreds of North Carolinians in speaking to your Legislators about the requirement: artsday.artsnc.org. Registration is now open. Be sure to register by April 30th, as prices go up after that date.
  • If you belong to an arts or professional organization, pass a resolution in support of the requirement. A template can be found at www.artsnc.org/advocacy and participants are asked to submit the resolution on their letterhead and attach a listing of their Board of Directors by no later than May 7.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Want You... At Arts Day 2010

What Is ARTS Day?
People who love the arts come to Raleigh to garner public support. ARTS North Carolina will provide materials and training that enable Legislative visits on May 19. We use ARTS Day to thank our leaders and position the arts as an economic imperative. Advancing the cause must be accomplished face-to-face; ideas get lost in translation and passion diminishes if we only rely on e-mails. ARTS Day is intentional advocacy. Can anyone doubt how badly we need people willing to speak for the arts?

What Should Happen Next?

Please register. After April 30, registration fees increase significantly. artsday.artsnc.org

What Then?

Check below to see if there is a Regional Coordinator in your area. The Regional Coordinator will set Legislative appointments and make sure the group is together in message and logistics. If your area does not have a Regional Coordinator, we will send you very simple instructions about how to set an appointment with your Legislators and what to expect when you call their offices. If this is your first time attending and you would like an experienced advocate as a mentor, we can make that happen.

What Else Happens?

ARTS Day 2010 officially begins at 1pm on May 18 with a workshop, It's the Economy, at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Secretary of Cultural Resources Linda Carlisle will lead off a distinguished roster of arts professionals to help attendees communicate effectively about economy, jobs, and the arts in North Carolina's future. Registration will open at 12:30, giving attendees an opportunity to tour the new Museum of Art galleries prior to the workshop or at a scheduled break from 3 - 4pm. http://ncartmuseum.org/interim/home.php An early evening social will begin at 5:45 at the Visual Art Exchange in downtown Raleigh. For a complete schedule: artsday.artsnc.org.

Regional Coordinators