Minnesota State Representative Diane Loeffler

The Arts

"The arts are an essential part of our economy and our quality of life: they help bring people of different cultures and perspectives together and enhance learning in school. I will be a strong supporter of the arts at the legislature and welcome the ideas and support of the arts community. As a legislator I will be a strong voice for the integration of art in many aspects of state business: funding to sustain the arts (state support was reduced 32% in the last state budget), increasing the opportunities for all to experience and participate in artistic expression, supporting capital investments that include arts set asides, and ensuring that the state develops economic development and job creation plans that include our creative businesses as well."
Diane Loeffler

I’ve long been a strong supporter of the arts and delight in the growing arts effort in N.E. When I graduated from college I couldn’t wait to go to the art fairs that summer and invest in my first original piece of art! That metal relief is still a favorite of my now much larger collection. While I’ve dabbled in cast metal sculpture and batik and have a book draft mostly done:my primary activity has been to enjoy the talents of others in studios and on the stage and to support and strengthen the environment for other artists. Local artists have contributed to the design and content of my campaign literature. I’m a member of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and the Northeast Mpls. Arts Association.

I have long been active in our community on a variety of fronts. That includes the arts. Here’s a quick list:

  • Volunteer for the first Art a Whirl in 1996 and many times since (I think that was the year it started).
  • Involvement in a multi-neighborhood effort to create an arts education and culture center that would enable area residents and others to learn from artists in the area and explore their own talents. We have so many artists locally who teach elsewhere but not locally. We surveyed over 300 arts organizations and individuals as to their interest in teaching in this area or renting space for performances.
  • Support for the creation of the Arts District and efforts to ensure our studio spaces remain affordable and dedicated to the arts.
  • Served on the City Tree Project in which we transformed 14 th and Central to a green space and sculpture garden. The Skyline Sculpture Garden is yet a dream.
  • This past year I’ve been an active member of the multi-neighborhood group that has worked with Minneapolis staff and artists in redoing the Broadway and Central Ave. Bridge to replace the rusting chain link fence with custom wrought iron, updated art and a design that welcomes people in the Arts District. As designed, it will have a couple of places for the community to post notices about upcoming arts events such as First Thursdays, Art Attack and Art-a-Whirl. Even in these days of very tight public budgets, it appears we have been able to secure sufficient funds to complete this next year.

I will advocate for:

  • Arts education in the schools.
  • Greater state funding for the arts.
  • Expanded affordable performance arts opportunities for all parts of the state, focused on smaller performing groups and artists, not just the big 3 - The MN. Orchestra, the Guthrie and the Children’s Theatre.
  • State promotion of the creative industries as an economic development tool.
  • Arts and design investments as a significant component of all state capital projects.
  • Ensuring that artists and other self-employed persons have access to affordable health insurance – they shouldn’t be dependent on fundraisers when they have a major health issue.
  • Helping artists address and be able to afford needed enhancements to improve the health of their working environment. The paints, chemicals and solvents often used in the creation of art have indoor air quality issues that may impact the health of artists.

Obviously these aren’t the only concerns of our artists. They too struggle with housing and studio affordability, particularly as property taxes continue to increase at double digit rates. As I mentioned, health care is a key issue for many and I’ve spent 10 years working on health issues and have the background needed to not just talk about doing something, to actually draft a proposal that addresses actuarial assumptions, rate bands, risk rating and benefits provisions in detail. The legislature passes detailed bills, not sound bites. That is part of why I’m running – I’ve seen which legislators are effective in making good change happen and which ones just talk and vote for the work of others with little real influence on the specifics that impact the lives of their constituents. I want our area represented by the former type and will devote my time, talents and energy to ensure that our community’s interests are actively pursued and looked out for. Having worked on education policy, tax policy, local government finance and health care I have demonstrated an ability to understand and analyze the legal language, translate ideas into legislative results, and make a difference for our citizens.