Arts Advocacy -- Let's get going!
We are in a political climate that needs to get back to the grassroots. Virginia just had a primary election and only a very small percent of the population event voted in the election. The Washington Post had a wonderful article on why no women are running for office in Virginia! We need to get more involved in the local elections because our local officials in Virginia go to Richmond to determine the budget for our state, what the primary issues are for our state, and which programs will be priority in the state.
Thus, we see the importance of participating in the voting process. Those of us in the arts, keep watch over the State's budget because we know that the elected officials who support the arts are often fighting with the officials who deem that there are more important issues and needs than the arts and culture issues. Of course we have the Virginians For the Arts with Jim Thompson, the President, and his staff working on the arts issues. But they cannot do it alone--they need our help. The Cultural Alliance, in conjunction with the Virginians For the Arts, is planning an advocacy workshop in September. We recognize that not everyone is comfortable calling and visiting elected officials; but with some training and partnering with other groups, we can all develop the skills we need to visit,www.culturalli.org talk with, write and call on our elected officials. We need to advise them of the economic impact of the arts (of course we know the intrinsic value of the arts) but when the officials are looking at budgets and programs, they have to also look at the costs of these program and budgets! Plan now to attend this advocacy workshop with your peers and fellow arts co-workers. Let's get the skills and information we need so that we can become more involved in the political advocacy process to keep the arts alive in the state of Virginia and in Hampton Roads. Visit the Cultural Alliance website to get the date and information about the upcoming September advocacy workshop, www.culturalli.org so that you can attend.