Thursday, May 27, 2010

Advocacy Update - Good News

The House Appropriations Committee on General Government is recommending sustained funding for the grants programs of the North Carolina Arts Council. 

The Chairs of Appropriations are likely to meet throughout the Memorial Day weekend and will likely come out with a budget next week. If they accept the General Government Committee's recommendation, then we go into the final budget negotiations with sustained funding recommended by both the House and the Governor's budget. 

This is all very promising news. Please stay tuned in the event a Call to Action is needed.

We also expect that the House Education Committee will hear Representative Becky Carney's substitute bill for Senate Bill 66, requiring one unit in the arts for high school graduation. Carney's bill will also begin the process for the State Departments of Education and Cultural Resources to create, recommend, and consider funding needs for a comprehensive arts education plan. Again, this is exceedingly promising. 

The bill is tentatively scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, June 1st, at 11 AM in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building; the public is invited to attend.

ARTS Day was a tremendous success. Byron Woods with the Independent Weekly has written a thoughtful and extensive article on arts activism – take a look here

All in all, it is has been a most encouraging two weeks for the arts at the General Assembly. We would be remiss if we did not credit Secretary Linda Carlisle, Legislative Liaison Melanie Soles, and Representative Becky Carney for their exemplary leadership.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Speak for the Arts - Monday May 24 in Raleigh

We need you to continue to speak for the arts!

We have just learned that the House Appropriations Committee will hold a  
public hearing on the state budget on Monday, May 24th.

The hearing will be held from 7-10 p.m. at the McKimmon Center on the campus of North Carolina State University. Three community colleges across the state will host interactive broadcasts of the hearing and it will also be streamed live on the Internet.


Every individual action is hugely significant in the accelerated budget process for 2010-11.

Committee members would like to invite members of the public to offer suggestions and comments about the budget. Each speaker will have up to two minutes to share information. 

Email comments concerning the budget may be sent to up to midnight of May 25. 

Written comments postmarked by May 25 may be sent to House Appropriations Committee, Suite 401, Legislative Office Building, 300 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC, 27603-5925. 

Additional information will be available at
The community colleges that will serve as host sites are:
Bladen Community College, Dublin
Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte
Southwestern Community College, Sylva

Visit for contact information and driving directions to each campus.

Call to Action: Ask the "Big Chairs" to sustain funding for the North Carolina Arts Council.

Call to Action
Immediate Response Needed

Before we've even had a chance to inform everyone of the tremendous response at ARTS Day, we are propelled into the thick of the legislative budget process. We have received word that the House budget could be presented to the Appropriations Chairs as early as Thursday, May 27. The Senate budget included a 5% reduction in Grassroots Arts and a 7% reduction in Program Grants, and we want this money restored in the House budget.  
Every individual action is hugely significant in the accelerated budget process for 2010-11.

House General Government Committee will begin meeting on Tuesday morning. Therefore, if you live in the counties of either Representative Susan Fisher (Buncombe) or Alice Underhill (Craven), Co-Chairs of General Government, please call their offices immediately and either speak with their Legislative Assistant or leave a voice mail. Respectfully request that the House follow Governor Perdue's recommendation for sustained grants funding and please restore the 5% and 7% reductions made in the Senate budget.
  • Representative Susan Fisher: 919/715-2013
  • Representative Alice Underhill: 919/733-5853
The schedule indicates that General Government will present their recommendations to the Chairs of Appropriations/Base Budget on Thursday and that the Appropriations Chairs will continue to meet through the Memorial Day weekend. Therefore we are asking every advocate who receives this e-mail (please forward as well) to write a letter to the Appropriations Chairs requesting that the House budget follow Governor Perdue's recommended level of funding for the North Carolina Arts Council grants programs.

We regret to say that e-mail is no longer considered an effective form of mass communication. Our electronic program does allow the same process of creating a communication, only you will be cued to print letters rather than send e-mails. Please check the instructions included when you Take Action Now. When you Take Action Now, you will be directed to the key talking points for your letter.

It is imperative that the hard copy, first class letters be mailed no later than noon on Saturday, May 22.

Let us all join together to build the momentum begun at ARTS Day so necessary to sustain funding for the North Carolina Arts Council. Our industry can and will flourish if we speak for the arts. Now. Today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Changes in Latitudes

We knew there would be work to do.  

In spite of the Biennium Budget and the 2010 Governor's Budget, we have indication that the grants programs of the North Carolina Arts Council may be cut by approximately 6%.  This represents $400,000+ reductions in the Grassroots Arts and Program Grant categories.  

This is the very reason you need to come to Raleigh for Arts Day, and we still have 25 places available.  If you have been on the fence about whether you were needed, join us in the pasture.
The Arts Education agenda item is also in motion, but in a different direction than previously stated.  Representative Becky Carney (Mecklenburg) will offer a House Education Committee substitute bill for Senate Bill 66 which requires one unit in the arts for high school graduation.  The proposal will strengthen the arts education policy momentum by requiring the State Board of Education to appoint a Task Force to consider and recommend policy, budget, and implementation plans for a K-12 arts education program in our public schools.  
The committee bill will address our collective concerns about the need for a comprehensive plan and future funding needs.  It is clear that no bill requiring any possible new funding would be approved this session.  
Let us say a shout out to all organizations whose Board's adopted the high school requirement resolution.  Those acts of advocacy leadership provided substantial backing for a better course of action. 
Please join with us as we:
Live Expectantly.  Prepare.  Take Action.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Value of Advocacy

Hello everyone,

I’m Angie Hays, the executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC). NCTC is a membership organization and we represent over 200 organizations – schools, colleges, theatre companies and others – as well as the thousands of students, faculty and staff members at these organizations.

People join NCTC because our board and staarts ff members are passionate about advocating for the theatre field. We offer many services, but I believe that our most important work is the work that we do to unite our members, to speak with one clear and loud voice, and to tell our collective story. NCTC speaks for theatre and works very closely with Arts NC, whose staff and board speaks for all of the arts. We work together, we join the full choir and we fully support the mission of Arts NC. Therefore, it a great honor for us to serve as a leading sponsor of Arts Day.

Someone once told me that an organization’s budget is a reflection of institution priorities. I think that is a pretty accurate. To that end, NCTC’s Arts Day sponsorship (and Arts NC membership) is one of the very first things our board works into the budget each year.

You’ve also heard that decisions are made by those who show up. The NCTC board and staff will be at Arts Day and we hope to see many of you there! We need you there. I say we because we are all Arts NC. We need your sponsorship support and we need you at Arts Day to speak loudly and with great passion.

Thank you for reading. I hope your organization will join NCTC on the 2010 or 2011 Arts Day sponsorship list and I hope to see you at Arts Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get Coordinated! Arts Day 2010

I’m Hannah Grannemann, Managing Director at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, and the Orange County Coordinator for Arts Day.

To be most effective when meeting with our legislators on Arts Day, we need to be coordinated – meaning we’re on message and showing up at the just the right time and with as many people as possible to show broad based support for the arts in North Carolina.

I’m just one person, you think, how do I that? Your county coordinators will help you – and you will help them! We’ll coordinate making appointments, making sure each attendee under our watch is ready to participate by knowing what to expect, where to be, and what to say (or not say) when meeting with the legislators.

Don’t know who your county coordinator is? Read the “Before You Come to Raleigh” document here.

You can get yourself prepared (a great help to your county coordinator) by:
  • reading over the advocacy materials at
  • going to the events on Tuesday, May 18 to learn about the Legislative Agenda and hear from Secy. Linda Carlisle about how the arts have a significant impact on the economy (and let’s face it – it’s the economy that’s at the front of all our minds, most notably the legislators with whom we’ll be meeting, so we’d better be ready to talk about it!)
  • going to the Early Bird session or the Advocacy 101 session before your meetings on Wednesday, May 19
  • talking with experienced advocates

There’s strength in numbers and working with your colleagues in the field yields new ideas.I enjoy being a county coordinator because I get to know the other arts advocates and leaders in my community and help to do our part to make sure that the arts receive the recognition and support they deserve from our state’s leaders.

We have a great list of reasons why the arts are good for North Carolina – jobs, economic development, education, community vitality – but we have to get coordinated, focused and have a successful strategy so our message gets through!

See you on Arts Day 2010!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Problem

Registration for ARTS Day 2010 is nearing capacity. In past years, advocates have been able to register at the last minute or even walk-in to the event without prior registration, but we cannot guarantee last minute decisions this year. If you plan to attend ARTS Day 2010, and we hope you do, please do not delay completing your registration at

ARTS North Carolina has some ideas about why we have overwhelming support this year. Great numbers of people are waking up to the responsibility of advocacy, especially when they see what is happening in other Southern states. Advocacy is no longer a "whispered" word; advocacy is fast becoming an organizational and individual priority. We have Linda Carlisle, Secretary of Cultural Resources, to thank for her effective creative economy message. State support is more important than ever, and the North Carolina Arts Council has demonstrated its sacrificial commitment to keeping grants funding "whole." We have social media and its volunteer guru Shane Hudson to thank for getting the word where it needed to go. We have you to thank for listening and responding by passing the word along to others. We are one step closer to the vision of a united industry with a clear and passionate message.

What will you find when you get to Raleigh?
  • A turnkey event - While we encourage review of the materials before you come to Raleigh (, everything you need will be waiting for you. If you are not working with a Regional Coordinator, make sure you have called your Legislator's office and made an appointment. If you need help with your appointment or would like a mentor to go with you on the visit, contact
  • A community - Newcomers and oldcomers are all welcomed and quickly merged into a powerful lobby for arts funding and arts education policy.
  • Training - workshops on Creative Economy, Messaging, Advocacy 101, and Legislative Training
  • Fun - speaks for itself
  • Civic engagement - satisfaction that your individual efforts made/make a difference
  • Parking Problems - Leave early and allow time; registrants are sent parking suggestions.
Don't get left out! Register now at