Walker Deputy Director and Chief Curator Philippe Vergne is lending his perspective and voice to a June 12 panel discussion on the current and future states of the arts in Minnesota. Free to the public, the discussion is 5:30 pm at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Joining Vergne at a long table are Kaywin Feldman (executive director, Minneapolis Institute of Arts), Jocelyn Hale (executive director, Loft Literary Center), Lily Schwartz (director of Pops and Special Projects, Minnesota Orchestra), John Miller-Stephany (associate artistic director, Guthrie Theater), and Vickie Benson (McKnight Foundation program director for the arts). Moderating is FOX9 news anchor Robyne Robinson.
Expect some back-and-forth (mostly forth) about the “Vote Yes” ballot initiative — more formally known as the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The Walker is among many arts (i.e. cultural legacy) institutions advocating the measure, which calls for amending the Minnesota state constitution to add and dedicate three-eighths of a cent on every dollar of taxable sales (think three extra pennies for every $10 you spend at retail) to environmental, outdoors, sporting and arts organizations.
If recent history is an indication, those extra pennies would add up to about $300 million each year (19.25 percent of that will go toward arts/culture). State and regional arts councils would administer the arts funding, redistributing it through existing grant programs. The rest goes to protect, enhance, and/or restore Minnesota’s drinking water sources, wetlands, prairies, forests, lakes, rivers, steams, and groundwater, wildlife habitat, and parks and trails.
On the surface, the arts might seem the round peg on the square board. After all, where else would you find painters and hunters in the grip of solidarity? But proponents are wrapping all the interests into one pitch slogan: “Protect the Minnesota you love.” And who can argue with clean water?
The Walker is asking you to join Vergne in November by saying Vote Oui.