Do You Have to Support Public Funding To Be an Arts Advocate?

Posted by Scarlett Swerdlow On November - 8 - 2010

Thinking ManSome questions take on a strength and resolve in my mind that it’s like all the events I experience and all the facts and stories I acquire point back to the question.

All roads lately lead to this: “What makes an advocate an arts advocate?” A simple question, but does it have a simple answer?

How do you define an arts advocate? What are the denominators that all arts advocates share? Is it about stances on specific issues — a belief in public funding for the arts and arts education? Is it about actions — supporting museums, theatres, orchestras, dance companies, etc., with your own money? Is it about motivations — a conviction that culture makes communities better places to live, work, and raise a family?

As I’ve been trying to answer the question, November 2 has come, but it hasn’t gone. Here in Illinois, the race for governor was won by about a half percent. We will have to wait months to know the meaning and impact of Election Day, the changes it championed and the things it left the same.

So, I’m still stuck on the question, but in some new ways:

What will National Arts Advocacy Day be like in 2011?

This spring, I’ll be in Washington, DC for National Arts Advocacy Day. There are 5 newcomers to the Illinois congressional delegation (technically, one of the 5 races isn’t called, but it looks like Republican Joe Walsh will oust Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean by a few hundred votes). Read the rest of this entry »

Tweet the Arts on National Arts Advocacy Day, April 13

Posted by admin On April - 8 - 2010

Next Tues, April 13, is National Arts Advocacy Day, when more than 500 arts advocates will be going to Capital Hill in Washington, D.C. to talk to their government officials about the power of the arts and the need for arts education and arts funding. If you can’t join us in D.C. on April 13, please take the time to create a tweet that day featuring the hashtag #arts on your Twitter accounts and tell you friends to do the same.

Read the rest of this entry »

The FAQs of an Emerging Arts Leader

Posted by admin On March - 19 - 2010

by Anna Sebourn

As a second year graduate student in Arts Management getting ready to move from academia to a career, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the difficulty of the transition. Sure, I’ve taken a graduate level Arts Marketing class and had a marketing internship . . .but what kind of marketing jobs should I apply for? Am I considered entry-level or mid-level? And sure, I know how to market an arts event fairly well, but how well can I market MYSELF to employers?

I know I’m not alone in this. Several of my friends and I have been discussing this very topic at length anytime we peruse job listings or talk about our plans after graduation. We’re just not sure which jobs we’re qualified for and how to stand out among the sea of other applicants.

On the other hand, I have numerous friends on the opposite side of the spectrum. They have several years of work experience under their belt, but trying to transfer into the arts field from the ‘outside’ is tough. Some have already broken into the field, but have questions about advancing and sustaining their careers and staying current on best practices. Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Lynch, President & CEO of Americans for the Arts, discusses the upcoming National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on April 12-13, and talks about memories from past events.

For more information on National Arts Advocacy Day click here.  And you can also find video highlights from last year’s event, including Josh Groban and Wynton Marsalis, on this page.

We ask that you post your favorite Arts Advocacy Day memory below!

On June 10, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets the initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a $15 million increase for the NEA in its FY 2010 spending bill, setting it on a path towards final House consideration. Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) has once again championed the arts and culture and proposed an increase in funding.

Currently funded at $155 million, this increase would bring the agency’s budget to $170 million. In his statement, Chairman Dicks referenced the Arts Advocacy Day hearings the subcommittee held as demonstrating that “the endowments are vital for preserving and encouraging America’s arts and cultural heritage.”  On Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts presented a panel of witnesses before Chairman Dicks’ Appropriations Subcommittee calling for a significant increase in funding for the NEA.  Witnesses included Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis, singer-songwriter Josh Groban, legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, Reinvestment Fund CEO Jeremy Nowak, and Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch. Watch video from that panel here.

The FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill will next go to full committee and then to the House floor for final consideration where your help may be needed to defend against floor amendments attempting to cut this increase. We must now put pressure on the Senate to match this funding level. Please take two minutes to visit the Americans for the Arts E-Advocacy Center to send a letter to your Members of Congress letting them know that the arts are important to you!

On March 31, 2009, Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts gathered a panel of acclaimed artists and experts to call on Congress for continuing and additional support and funding for the arts and arts education in America.  This hearing, entitled “The Arts = Jobs,” focused on congressional support of strong public policies for the arts, appropriating increased public funding for the arts and supporting arts workers.  Josh Groban and Wynton Marsalis were among the artists who testified before a Congressional Committee to champion the benefits of arts and arts education.


Josh Groban – GRAMMY ® nominated singer-songwriter


Wynton Marsalis, World-renowned trumpeter,
composer and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center

Play Your Part!
Add your voice to the growing list of arts advocates across the country by joining the Arts Action Fund.

The 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy

Posted by Graham Dunstan On April - 7 - 2009

World-renowned trumpeter, composer and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis dazzled and inspired his audience with a moving lecture mixed with performance titled The Ballad of the American Arts. The 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy was presented to a capacity crowd at the Kennedy Center on the eve of Arts Advocacy Day. Marsalis’s lecture addressed the essential value of culture in the recalibration of American identity. After two standing ovations Marsalis wrapped up the evening with a lively performance with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Chris Crenshaw, trombone; Victor Goines, saxophone; Carlos Henriquez, bass; Ali Jackson, drums; and Dan Nimmer, piano).


Wynton Marsalis:2009 Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy from Americans for the Arts on Vimeo.

If an artist sings deep enough, he takes you to the frontiers of your soul.
—Wynton Marsalis, 2009 Nancy Hanks Lecturer

Don't Lie, Be Nice, & Other Lessons from Arts Advocacy Day

Posted by Scarlett Swerdlow On April - 3 - 2009

Thank you to all the advocates from across the country who attended the 2009 Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC this week.  And thank you to Americans for the Arts for facilitating and convening this event.

Despite my snarky title, I learned a lot of excellent stuff at Arts Advocacy Day and I met many incredible and fascinating people.  I also got to connect with the offices of many members of the Illinois congressional delegation.

The fact that attendance was just a few folks shy of 2008 speaks to the importance and power of advocacy – especially in tough times.  The debate over funding for the arts in the stimulus was a wake-up call that we must be savvy and vigilant in our advocacy.  And as many speakers and presenters said at Arts Advocacy Day, “If we don’t do this, no one will.”

Before I share some of experiences and lessons-learned from DC, I’d love to hear from you about your advocacy and lobbying efforts.  What successes have you enjoyed?  What mistakes have you made?  What prompted you to speak out?  What has held you back?

I was live-Tweeting from Arts Advocacy Day and a few folks from Pennsylvania joined me (a special shout-out to @philaculture as well as @tiffany_gpac).  Below are a few highlights from our coverage. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.