Paul Austin

Paul Austin is the director of Conservation Minnesota, a statewide non-profit. In that role, he gets to hear and share Minnesotan’s stories about our lakes, lands and way of life. Paul’s past lives include election as a small town mayor, serving at the US Agency for International Development, and managing a small marketing firm. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two small children and one very large dog.

Legacy Funding Has Big Arts Impact

Posted by: Paul Austin Updated: April 9, 2014 - 1:16 PM

Now entering its fifth year, the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment is starting to hit its stride. Passed overwhelmingly by the voters of Minnesota in 2008, the amendment constitutionally dedicates 3/8 of one percent of tax revenue to projects that preserve the state's outdoors and arts legacy.

Since its inception, Conservation Minnesota, along with the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, have been monitoring the Legacy Amendment and its distributions to identify the successes and challenges created by the new program. Neither of the organizations receives Legacy funds.

This year, one of the biggest success stories identified by the group was the positive impact that the Minnesota State Arts Board and its eleven regional arts councils are having as they assist with distribution of legacy funds to artists around the state.

The State Arts Board and the Regional Councils exemplify everything that is good about the Legacy Amendment. They are soliciting compelling grant requests from artists throughout the state, and helping ensure that Minnesota's history of artistic expression remains vibrant. 

Be it helping stage theatrical productions at regionaltheaters around the state, funding public art or helping provide concerts for the whole community to enjoy, there are all sorts of arts projects that arebenefiting from the legacy amendment and the leadership of the state arts board and the regional arts councils.

As a part of the recent Arts Advocacy Day at the State Capitol, the State Arts Board and the Regional Arts Councils were singled out for their exemplary work using volunteers to decide how to invest Legacy arts dollars, and were given Legacy Partner Awards from Conservation Minnesota and the Minnesota Citizens For The Arts. 

At the award presentation, it was announced that the organizations had worked with 788 volunteers who has provided more than 34,000 volunteer hours of expertise in determining which projects would most benefit the state. 

This is a perfect example of how residents are feeling the Legacy Amendment’s impact, and how truly good things are resulting from the decision by the voters to prioritize the things that are important to all Minnesotans. 

More information on the Legacy Amendment is available at http://www.conservationminnesota.org/interests/the-legacy-amendment/

 

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