Arts Advocacy for Arts and Cultural organizations and Artists!
Arts advocacy! In this day of political upsets and unusual political processes, it is important that all of us take a part in this important political process. The arts are being threatened from the nation’s capital down to each state in the union. In Virginia, the General Assembly will be gathering soon and the Delegates and Representatives will be working on the state budgets. It is important that we become familiar with the elected officials that support the arts and, get to know those who don’t support the arts so that we can provide them with information that may change their mind. The Virginians for the Arts is a vehicle through which many arts and cultural organizations work—they are lobbyists for all of us who work in the arts. They, however, cannot do it all. We have to get in there and meet our elected officials, remind the ones who supports the arts about the impact of the arts. Most politicians like to learn about the economic impact of the arts (budgets, budgets, budgets). When the budget proposals reach their desk, they need to be informed about this economic impact of the arts – therefore, it is imperative that we tell our story and provide them with data to help them vote for the arts budget. First tell them about all the arts organization in their official districts. Many are not aware of all of the groups as new ones appear and sadly, some disappear, and others may merge! Then tell them how the organizations as a group support their districts, not only with the cultural experience, but through job creation, tourism, the economics of what happens when a person attends a cultural event (parking, restaurants, hotels). Many businesses are impacted through the arts and we must be sure that our elected officials know about the widespread impact of the arts. The state funds are provided through the Virginia Commission for the Arts—a very important organization with representatives throughout the state. Visit your elected official today. Take a representative from a local cultural group with you, take an actor, musician, poet, anyone in the arts who can tell the story of how the arts benefits them.
We want to be sure that when our elected officials go to Richmond, that they are ready to vote to keep the arts funded in the Commonwealth, through the Virginia Commission for the Arts.