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Minnesota Arts Community Launches Effort to Defeat Marriage Amendment

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kate Brickman, Press Secretary
Phone Number: 815-343-9299


May 14, 2012 – Minneapolis, MN – The Minnesota arts community today announced plans to organize thousands of people within the arts community against the proposed constitutional amendment limiting the freedom to marry. Fifty-three arts organizations have already joined the arts coalition with Minnesotans United for All Families, and more are expected to follow suit, said Sheila Smith, Board Member for Minnesotans United and Executive Director of the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.

“Minnesota’s creative community thrives because of the contributions of creative people from all walks of life,” said Smith. “This amendment would limit our state’s ability to recruit the best and the brightest to be a part of our state’s future. We believe in treating others as you would like to be treated. That’s the kind of place we believe Minnesota is, and that’s the kind of place we want it to be in the future.”

Those thoughts were echoed by Joe Dowling, Director of the Guthrie Theatre.

“Recently I had the privilege of witnessing a wedding between two men in New York,” said Dowling. “These wonderful men lived in Minnesota for 25 years, contributing fully as prominent members of our community. The ceremony was beautiful, and I was struck with sadness that such an event was not possible here, where their families and community could witness the love and lifetime commitment these two men share.”

“For decades the Walker Art Center has been an open and inclusive environment for the broadest community,” said Ryan French, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Walker Art Center. “As a contemporary art center, it is critical to our mission that we reflect our world, the world of today. It is important for the Walker to commit itself to not limiting the freedoms of the artists, audiences and our valued members.”

Close to 100 representatives of the arts coalition attended this morning’s kickoff at the Illusion Theater. Among the many individual artists who say they are inspired to get involved was Dameun Strange, a Minneapolis composer and musician, who is now working for Minnesotans United as a community organizer in north Minneapolis.

“Here in Minnesota I have found artists who use art as a means or building community, healing wounds and bridging divides,” said Strange. “In recent years, in a world outside of the Arts, I feel a drift towards creating divisions, setting up walls, borders, and boundaries. I am witness to the fact that the arts community is one sector of Minnesota where the values of unity and acceptance are alive and well. Today this community of artists I love and respect are inspiring me again to step up and speak out against this constitutional amendment that seeks not to unite but to divide.”

The arts coalition will be organizing its efforts May 21 at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis. Smith is expecting hundreds to attend, and hopes they will help take the ‘Vote No’ message to thousands.

“The younger generation will be watching the decisions we make on this issue,” said Smith. “We have to ask ourselves, how will our children and grandchildren feel if we permanently single out a certain group of Minnesotans and take away their freedom?”


The  following arts organizations have endorsed the Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign as of May 14, 2012:

1. American Composers Forum
2. Anderson Center (Red Wing)
3. Burton Art Studios (small business)
4. Calliope Women’s Chorus
5. Children’s Theatre Company
6. Duluth Art Institute
7. Frank Theater
8. Guthrie Theater
9. Hennepin Theatre Trust
10. Illusion Theater
11. In the Heart of the Beast
12. Intermedia Arts
13. Jungle Theatre
14. James Sewell Ballet
15. Kate Sommers Photography (small business)
16. Keane Sense of Rhythm, Inc Tap Dance
17. Loring Park Art Festival
18. Lunalux (small business)
19. Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
20. Minnesota Freedom Band
21. Minnesota Museum of American Art
22. Minnesota Opera
23. Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra
24. Minnesota Playlist
25. Minnesota Theatre Alliance
26. Mixed Blood Theatre Company
27. The Moving Company
28. Mu Performing Arts
29. New Bohemian Artist Coop
30. One Voice Mixed Chorus
31. Open Eye Figure Theatre
32. Patrick’s Cabaret
33. Pillsbury House Theater
34. Playwright’s Center
35. Rebel Ink Printing (small business)
36. Rox Minneapolis Jewelry (small business)
37. Savage Umbrella
38. Skewed Visions
39. The Soap Factory
40. The Southern Theatre
41. Springboard for the Arts
42. Stages Theatre Company
43. Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater
44. Table Salt Productions
45. Ten Thousand Things Theater
46. Textile Center
47. Theatre Latte Da
48. Trellage-Ferrill Architecture & Art (small business)
49. 20 Percent Theater Company
50. Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus
51. Twin Cities Musicians Union
52. Walker Art Center
53. White Bear Center for the Arts

In addition, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has also endorsed the campaign.


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