CHAMP (Culture Humanities Arts Museums Partners) Advocacy Fly-In, January 28-29, 2015
Delegates from Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Humanities Forum, Museums Alaska and Alaska Historical Society met in Juneau on January 28 and 29, where they participated in advocacy training, gave a luncheon presentation at the capitol, and met with legislators.
Specific to museums, in 2014 a McDowell Group survey demonstrated critical infrastructure needs for Alaska’s cultural institutions. 27 museums cited the need for significant capital improvements within the next five years: exhibition space expansion or improvement; increase in facility size; collections storage expansion; and security improvements.
To address this need, the Museums Alaska delegation asked Representative Bob Herron to sponsor a bill to establish a Museum Construction, Expansion, and Major Renovation Matching Grant Program. This legislation, HB 52, mirrors an existing program for libraries, providing matching grants to those selected from the prioritized list of projects around the state, based on their readiness.
While in Juneau, 15 Museums Alaska advocates met with over 30 legislators and staff to educate them about the issues and gauge their support of the bill. Legislators were generally supportive of the concept, particularly because it carries a zero fiscal note. Senator Gary Stevens has filed a companion bill, SB 61. Please thank Representative Herron, firstname.lastname@example.org,and Senator Stevens email@example.com, for their leadership in sponsoring the legislation.
Once the bill has been scheduled, public testimony will be taken and we will send an eblast as to time and date. Please contact Michele Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Senator Stevens visited Homer Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10, at which time he briefed the Board members and staff on the state’s financial status. This year’s capital budget will be minimal in comparison to previous years. Only critical projects will be funded. It is unlikely that the Pratt will receive capital funds this year.