Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Arts North Carolina (NC) launched its new legislative campaign in early 2018: $1 for the ARTS; Arts Grants Equal to $1 for Every Person in NC. Because the state’s population is over 10 million people, this initiative aims to increase state arts grants by nearly 60%, from $6.3 million to $10 million. In spite of the fact that a legislative maneuver was used by state elected officials to keep all 2018 budget discussion out of committee and behind closed doors, Arts NC was able to leverage the excitement around the new initiative and plant seeds of support amongst Appropriations Leadership. This bore fruit in the form of a $300,000 non-recurring increase in arts grant funding, making this the fourth consecutive year arts grants have received a funding increase. 
Arts NC also saw another of its collaborative efforts succeed when in the first few days of the 2018 Session longtime arts champion Rep. Becky Carney (D) announced on the floor of the NC House of Representatives the creation of the Caucus for the Arts and Arts Education, co-chaired by herself and Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R). The purpose of this Caucus will be to convene NC General Assembly Members and convey through presentations and cultural experiences the economic, educational, and civic impact of the arts on citizens of throughout the state. 
Within weeks of the announcement, and thanks to grassroots advocacy efforts, the House Caucus had 44 members (over one third of the total House of Representatives) with a 2-1 partisan ratio that mirrored the House itself (29 Republicans, 15 Democrats). In addition to helping in the formation of the House Caucus, Arts NC also helped identify bipartisan Senate Co-Chairs as well, and plans are in place to announce the Senate Caucus in January 2019 at the start of the next legislative session. Together they will convene as a single entity: The Joint Caucus on Arts and Arts Education.