Fellow TITA bloggers Corwin, David, and I attended Arts Advocacy Day yesterday in Washington, D.C. Americans for the Arts hosts this event every year. Over 500 arts professionals attended this year to learn about the issues and then lobby their Congresspeople. I thought I was a pretty good arts advocate. I always took the time to explain to people about the arts and how they change people's lives and enrich communities. But what struck me is how much I could have been doing this whole time that I hadn't been doing.
I assumed that you had to know ALL the facts, ALL the budget numbers, ALL the studies on the arts to be an effective advocate--or an advocate at all. But you don't. Facts help. Personal stories are even better. Simply taking action at all is the most important part, though.
Just because today is the day after Arts Advocacy Day doesn't mean it's too late to make an impact. (This is an excuse I'm ashamed to say I've used before.) There are going to be 364 more days after Arts Advocacy. While a designated day helps us focus everyone's efforts, our organizations, our funders, our artists and the cultural welfare of our nation need our voices continuously.
At its heart, this blog is about the ways that arts professionals and artists can use technology to create the future of art and culture. This may be as complex as building robots that make music. But it could also be as simple as one of the three ideas below.
Three simple ways you can speak for the arts today:
1. EASY: Write one paragraph about why the arts matter to you. Add a sentence encouraging an increase in NEA funding to $180 million this year. (more info here) Send it to your Congresspeople. (email form)
2. EASIER: Tweet a condensed version and tag with #arts. This was a trending topic yesterday and the tag is still pretty hot.
Wasn't that easier than building a music-making robot?