Well, he didn’t do that, but he did include a $300,000 increase in funding for the North Dakota Council on the Arts in his budget. That was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.
Of course, the Governor’s budget is simply a suggestion and has no real permanence. Every line is gone over by appropriations and cuts are made left and right. There’s no reason to think that this increase won’t be scrutinized heavily by elected officials who are in the business and habit of saying “no” to supporting the arts.
You can be part of ensuring that the arts get this infusion of dollars by reaching out to your elected leaders and encouraging them to support this line in the budget. Arts North Dakota has purchased a program called Voter Voice, and that allows you to simply sign in with your address and get an email off to the people who represent you in Bismarck. You can include your own ideas or you can just send it off as is. There are excellent points included in the general letter, and I encourage you to read it so that you know what kind of work the NDCA is doing and why it has so much value to the state, regardless of location, size of community and type of art.
It’s easy to complain about what is or isn’t happening in Bismarck, but this is an opportunity to be proactive and let your opinion go on record. Support the arts by doing your part.
Image: “2009-0521-ND-StateCapitol” by Bobak Ha’Eri – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.