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home : letters : letters August 20, 2017

4/20/2017 8:04:00 AM
Support arts programs

To the Editor,

Last month, Pres. Trump released his new budget plan, which included cutting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) altogether. This organization provides $5.6 million to the state of Minnesota, increasing our per capita art spending by almost 15%, making it the highest in the nation. The arts in Minnesota provide 104,148 jobs, almost 7,000 being in the southwestern region alone. Minnesota artists and arts organizations have an economic impact of $2 billion dollars. It isn't chump change.

While most NEA grants go to Twin Cities organizations, Cannon Falls would also benefit from a stronger art scene. 88% of artists volunteer in the community, a 53% jump from regular Minnesotans. Arts create jobs and liven up communities. They also enrich the economy. The average cultural attendee spends $20.48 per person (excluding ticket price). If the attendee is non-local, they will spend 80% more than a local attendee.

Years ago, when I would mention being from Cannon Falls, if the person knew where it was, they would mention the bike trail or tubing. Now more often than not, people mention the Winery with live music. Arts is growing in Cannon Falls, much thanks to the work of the Cannon Art Board. They've supported programs such as the Cannon Community Theater, Community Arts Challenge, and Cannon Falls School of Dance. These programs, on top of our growing number of murals, are making Cannon Falls a more attractive location for visitors and families alike.

Supporting the arts in a non-partisan issue. 76% of Minnesotans have attended an art event in the last year, and "91% believe that people who create art are contributing something important to the communities where they live." (creativemn.org - an excellent report if you want more details on the effects of arts on the Minnesota culture and economy).

Rep. Jason Lewis has not yet stood up in support of the NEA. Please give him a call (651-846-2120) or email (jasonlewis.house.gov/contact) and tell him how the arts support Minnesota's thriving economy.

Laura Kressin

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