Gov. Arne H. Carlson (R-MN)
Governor Arne H. Carlson of Minnesota believes strongly that the arts play a large role in defining our quality of life. He showed his commitment to that belief last year by signing the largest ever increase to the state arts budget of $12 million. A large share of that money will go toward bringing the arts to rural Minnesota, through both increased touring activities by major arts groups and grant programs that allow communities to create their own arts festivals, institutions and organizations. Governor Carlson feels the arts broaden his state's sense of community and are a vital part of what brings people together.
Since Governor Carlson took office in 1991, funding for the arts has increased more than $19 million - more than 229 percent - to $26 million for the biennium, boosting Minnesota to second place among the 50 states in per capita arts spending at a level of $2.79 per person. Governor Carlson's arts initiatives have received broad bipartisan support within the state legislature, as well. Minnesota's decentralized arts funding system of Regional Arts Councils lends itself to a profound impact on the arts in every region of the state, known for its passionate participation in the arts. There are 30,000 full-time artists in Minnesota, and more than 1,600 arts organizations generating more than $1 billion per year. During his tenure, Governor Carlson has: brought the state out of debt and created a budget surplus; cut taxes by more than $1 billion; and provided the largest education spending increase in the state's history. A graduate of Williams College and the University of Minnesota, Governor Carlson and his wife Susan have three children.