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Region 2 Arts Council Receives Statewide Recognition For Effective Use Of Legacy Funds

WILLMAR – Conservation Minnesota and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts recognized the Region 2 Arts Council on Thursday at Arts Advocacy Day for the impact the organization is having statewide utilizing funds provided by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

In 2008, the voters of Minnesota overwhelmingly approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment which added 3/8 of one percent to the state's sales tax, and dedicated the revenue to projects that would help preserve the state's arts and outdoors legacy.

Since the legacy amendment was voted into existence, Conservation Minnesota and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts have traveled around the state highlighting the places in the state where the funds are best being put to use to serve the intent of the amendment. Be it with cleaner lakes, expanded trails or public art projects, every resident of Minnesota has benefited from the program.

The Minnesota State Arts Board and each of the eleven Regional Arts Councils will get "Legacy Partners" awards for effective and extensive use of public panels to make grant decisions. Between them, the twelve agencies worked with 768 people providing more than 34,000 volunteer hours of expertise on the best use of arts state dollars. These volunteers bring expertise in the arts and nonprofit management.

"Other agencies should look to the Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils on how to effectively use public input in decision making," said Sheila Smith. "While no process is perfect, their work takes place in transparent, open meetings and has resulted in great impact in arts access statewide."

Terri Widman, Director of the Council, said, "We are very pleased and honored that our board and panel members are receiving recognition for the many hours of volunteer time they spend to review and award grants."

"For the past few years, our organizations have been singling out communities that have done a good job of utilizing Legacy funds, and this year, we decided to include the State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils and some other organizations as a nod to the tremendous work they are each doing," said Paul Austin, Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota.

This year, the organizations have also chosen to single out Ducks Unlimited, The Minnesota Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Three Rivers Park District and a number of municipalities for their exceptional work in utilizing Legacy funds for the betterment of the state. Neither Conservation Minnesota nor the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts receives any funding from the Legacy Amendment.

The Region 2 Arts Council strengthens the presence of the arts by supporting opportunities for arts creation, promotion, and education for the people of Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen Counties. These grants were funded, in part, by the voters of Minnesota, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is a statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community and lobbies the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress on issues pertaining to the nonprofit arts and conducts original research. MCA works with over 42,000 arts advocates in Minnesota. http://www.mncitizensforthearts.org, @MNCitizen.

Formed in 1984 as the Minnesota League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Minnesota now exists as a collection of related organizations dedicated to helping connect Minnesotans who care about conservation with elected decision makers throughout the state.

MORE INFO: For more information on the recognition, or to set up an interview with Paul Austin and/or Sheila Smith, please contact Nate Dybvig at nate@conservationminnesota.org, or 651.230.3018.

 

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