Should Minnesota artists be able to use state funds for travel out of the state?

Sunset at MSP Airport
Sunset at MSP by carlyett117 via Flickr

Less than one percent of the $58.3 million the Minnesota Legislature allocated for arts and cultural heritage projects in FY2014 was spent on travel for Minnesota artists, but during the past legislative session, lawmakers determined that artists can only use Minnesota State Arts Board grant money for travel within state lines.

State of the Arts: Many artists have used MSAB grants in the past to research projects or participate in shows elsewhere in the country and internationally.

For them the move smacks of provincialism.

Today’s Question: Should Minnesota artists be able to use state funds for travel out of the state?

  • Pearly

    How do we expect these people to get by on only 583 thou. for travel. A artist needs the best of the best to keep the creative jucies flowing.

  • Bill

    No, they should not use state money for travel and I want the state to eliminate funding to the Arts and Culture Heritage fund. It should survive by donations only.

    • Ralfy

      FYI – Miinesota’s voters approved dedicated funding for the Arts and Culture by passing an amendment in 2008. Like the result or not, it was democracy in action. I wonder why we haven’t put the funding for a stadium to a vote.

  • John

    How do I sign up? I could use some free travel and entertainment, I’m artistic, and I have culture. I love this state, tax payers are wonderful, and they don’t pay attention.

    • mn123456

      Yet we can still build a stadium, right??? – This is less than 1% of the funding they give to them and all of the great artists traveled! I am sure there are a lot of funds besides the stadium out there this money goes to that should be “looked at.” Probably one you support and have no idea it is funded in one way or another.

  • mn123456

    It’s less than 1%! As far as I am concerned I’d rather see it go towards arts and culture than to build a stadium or numerous other things! For crying out loud, if our legislators had anyone that did anything artistic and didn’t already have their pockets lined thanks to tax payers they wouldn’t be bothering with this 1%! They are dividing the rich and middle class/ poor more and more every day. Besides those scholarships for the arts should be available to all income levels. This is “everyones” tax money!

    • mn123456

      “Less than 1% of the funding they get”, not the whole budget!

    • Pearly

      It’s just another “It’s only 1%” in the ever growing pile of “only 1%” waste. You keep adding little old 1%’s to the pile what do you suppose we end up with?

    • Bee

      The arts are, and will remain, available to everyone – and, just like sports stadiums, should not be funded with tax dollars.

  • Craig

    Is this policy change a reaction to the approval of questionable trips?

    An analogy to news gathering might be apt. Reporters travel out of state when it will improve their story. But if an editor were duped into approving a reporter’s holiday under the pretense of following a story, wouldn’t a first step be to employ a more astute editor?

  • Gary F

    Better tell those artistic kids to start smoking! We gotta pay for those programs!

    And while you are at it, better spend the little money you have on e-pull tabs, powerball, and scratch offs too!

  • Wally

    Wrong question. That’s like asking: “Should you beat your dog with a baseball bat or a crowbar?”

    Artists should NOT receive taxpayer funding. Let the market (the people) pick the art it wants to fund, and if the market (the people) pay enough that the artist can travel, good for the artist. If an artist’s work doesn’t sell, let the artist produce something that does, like burgers, lawn mowing, house painting, landscaping, etc., and use that money on making art that nobody wants to pay for. We taxpayers shouldn’t be spending our money so others can feel fulfilled.

    • reggie

      Wally, I’d guess you’re more the crowbar kind of guy.

      The marketplace is good for many things, but not everything. We wouldn’t know much about the past without the great art made in prior eras, most of it supported by patronage of the governments of the time — royalty, the catholic church, financiers and merchants of venice, and the like. That sort of patronage still exists, but we also have more populist (and sometimes popular) forms of public support for artists who have something to say about the times in which we live. The National Endowment for the Arts slogan is something like “a great nation deserves great art.” And so does a great state.

      To the question of the day: what rational person thinks ideas stop at the border, or that within MN we have all of the creativity and resources we need? Maybe we should flip this 180 degrees and require anyone working on behalf of the state — starting with our state legislators — to get out of MN and see what goes on elsewhere. Might make us less parochial.

      • kevins

        Well said Reggie!

    • Gayle

      As Ralfy noted earlier, funding the arts was democracy in action. We the People voted for the tax to be directed for this purpose, with an oversite board to supervise payouts. (The system seemed to be working according to the wishes of We the People, until Ziggy got a wiff.)

  • Owen

    Wally’s comments are right on the money, pardon the pun.

  • Gary F

    Why do artists need tax breaks? I always thought they were “Happy to pay” for a better,,,,,,,,

    Oh, ya, the mentality on the left is now, “happy for someone else” to pay for a better…

  • Gayle

    Musicians and stage performers are part of this program. Travel to schools, festivals and stages in “foreign lands” are a powerful and efficient way for Minnesota to introduce and educate others about our state. They are, in a sense, cultural ambassadors and educators. It is completely appropriate to fund their travels from this budget as they are representatives of Minnesota.