TIPSHEET, July 21, 2011
It’s over. After this week’s special session, both houses of the state legislature passed the necessary budget bills to get government services back up and running again. The governor signed them in short order, and as of this morning, thousands of state workers are being called back into work.
Shew — right?
But hold your horses: The shutdown may be over, but organizations, students, and artists will be feeling the effects of the nearly three weeks of limbo for a while longer. First, as the business of the state resumes operation, I suspect the wheels of government are going to grind a bit more slowly than usual. Just imagine the mountain of interrupted paperwork, missed calls, and email state workers will need to wade through to get things moving normally again.
So, even with most public employees returning to work today, if you’ve been chomping at the bit to talk to someone, say, at the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB), a bit more patience is in order. If you have questions for the administrators of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund about upcoming grant deadlines, or a pressing question about a contract, you’ll likely be waiting a little longer for a response.
Without “sufficient lead time” to prepare, Perpich Center for Arts Education has cancelled their Summer Music Workshops. A number of key grant deadlines will have to be pushed back. Even regional arts centers organizations not wholly reliant on the state are feeling the pinch of the shutdown, due to the cost of borrowing or dipping into cash reserves to maintain operations in absence of state funding support since July 1. Even with the resumption of state operations, we’re probably still a ways away from business as usual.
On the other hand, it looks like the state parks may well re-open to visitors as early as Friday (for day-use, at least); a number of other facilities, like the Minnesota History Center, are already open for business today. (On a related note: with MNHS back in business, that means this coming Tuesday night’s 9 Nights of Music concert is also now a go.)
So, it may be a few weeks yet before the state gets its groove back – and our public servants will have their hands full getting their houses in order in the meantime.
Before I go, a couple of “closing soons” you should know about:
LAST CHANCE: The Minnesota Museum of American Art’s final “Patio Nights” will take place on St. Paul’s riverfront this Friday, and it’ll also be your last chance to see Jim Campbell’s stellar installation, Scattered Light.
LAST CHANCE: The McKnight Photo Fellows’ exhibitions will close this weekend. The shows, at Franklin Art Works and Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis, show work from two years of fellowship recipients, from 2009/10 and 2010/11. You can read Miranda Trimmier’s thoughtful essay, “A Shuffling Game,” on the show here.
So, what state services and amenities did you most miss during the shutdown? Did the interruption of government call your attention to any previously-unappreciated services and programs in your own neighborhood? Weigh in with your experiences and reflections in the comments section below.