Maybe your friend told you her school is cutting the music program and choir was the best part of your day in middle school. Maybe you're getting nervous that your community isn’t producing enough diverse performances. Maybe you’ve heard about arts advocacy before and you’re thinking “It’s time for me to step up and help protect the arts.” Whatever your reasons may be, arts advocacy day is a great place to start. But...what exactly is it?
Let’s begin with the organization that makes arts advocacy day possible- Americans for the Arts, or AFTA. Founded in 1996, their mission is “to build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts and to lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America” (AFTA website, 2019.) In addition to helping put together important events like arts advocacy day, AFTA conducts important research regarding the arts, as well as connects diverse arts leaders across the nation to one another.
Arts advocacy day really begins the day before, at the National Arts Action Summit. During the summit, participants are briefed on current arts research and legislative priorities from top experts. It’s a full schedule of lectures and training so that you’re fully prepared to make your case. The following day, armed with your knowledge, you take a stand at Capitol Hill and meet with the congressional leaders of your state.
Arts advocacy day, in a nutshell, brings us together. It helps to unify our individual voices across 50 states so that we may become one sound, powerful voice, that resounds across the hill to express our passion to legislators.
This year marks the 31st consecutive year of arts advocacy day. Together, more than 700 advocates from across the nation will band together to support the importance of the arts and demand an increase in funding. So what do you say? Are you willing to join the cause and stand up for our rights for stronger public policies surrounding the arts- or will you sit aside and watch the U.S. continue to become an entirely left-brained society devoid of creativity?
That’s what I thought -- I’ll see you on March 4th & 5th for Arts Advocacy Day!
For more information and registration, please visit AFTA’s website
Written by Kara Hess, EALS Finance Coordinator and advocate for the arts.