Advocacy in "Interesting" Times

Posted by Anne Katz, Feb 11, 2016 0 comments

This article was originally published by CultureWork: A Periodic Broadside for Arts and Culture Workers, in January 2016. CultureWork is a publication of The Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy at the University of Oregon. The following blog post is an abbreviated version.

The idea that advocacy should be a daily activity, and not just something that is reserved for once-a-year visits to the State Capitol, hit home for me a few years ago. An enthusiastic constituent made the trek to Madison from a small town on the Mississippi River—a trip of at least four hours each way—to attend Arts Day. At the end of the day, she told me that she had had a great time learning and networking but didn’t get a chance to visit with her legislator. She said, "I'll come back to Madison one of these days to meet with him." My response was, "Well, he'll be home this weekend, and every weekend, so why don't you just call him up and meet for coffee at a local café?" That's when I realized…there's a misconception out there that advocacy is something separate from life, that you have to make a special effort and drive a long way to meet with your legislator to be part of the civic discourse.

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Out-Of-School Time Arts Programs Are (Inherently) Awesome!

Posted by Kari Couture, Feb 09, 2016 0 comments

With one foot deep in the arts education world and the other deep in youth development and out-of-school time (OST) work, I have come to the not-so-shocking realization that arts programs easily and thoroughly align with and fulfill what experts and participants agree are the key characteristics of successful youth development programs – hurrah for Creative Youth Development!

I participate in Milwaukee’s city-wide OST network, Beyond the Bell, and recently became a trained external assessor for the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a quality improvement process developed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. The purpose of the process is to quantify the quality of a youth development program and help organizations create quality improvement plans. The Weikart Center also offers Methods Trainings focused on quality improvements relative to the measures in the tool.

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#artssowhite - How can arts education help build equity in the arts?

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo, Feb 04, 2016 0 comments

Oscar season is upon us and rather than debating who will win Best Picture or Best Actor/Actress, the debate has been how “white” the Oscars are.  #oscarssowhite went viral and African American actors began to boycott. As a result, the Academy (which is 94% white) responded by making the bold move to change their composition to reflect more diversity.

The Oscar issue is reflective of a much larger issue across all sectors of the arts; lack of diversity. I just returned from the annual meeting of American’s for the Arts and all of their advisory councils. This issue was front-and-center over the three-day meeting, as it has become a top priority for AFTA. As I sat and looked around the room I could see why.

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5 key ways the arts drive economic & community development

Posted by Sarah Sidman, Feb 04, 2016 0 comments

 “[Cultural activities] enrich and expand on my understanding of what binds us together as a community, where we have come from and perhaps where we are going.”
-ArtsFund Patron Survey, 2015

Arts advocates often talk about how cultural organizations play a critical role in creating a vibrant, thriving economy, in definining civic identity, and in building an engaged and connected population, but how do we support that claim? 

 

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Legislative Sessions Open, Now What? Advocate!

Posted by Ms. Janet M. Starke, Jan 27, 2016 0 comments

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new General Assembly session, at least in my home state of Virginia, and also for three-quarters of our states’ legislatures. And for our state so begins the battle for increased funding for our state arts council—the Virginia Commission for the Arts. This Wednesday, arts leaders and supporters from across our Commonwealth will gather for Arts Advocacy Day when we will meet with our state representatives to plead our case. And just what is that case?

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OH at a Meeting: It’s Not Just a Bike Rack

Posted by Ms. Margy Waller, Jan 26, 2016 0 comments

We were in Oklahoma City and Heather Ahtone of Norman Oklahoma shared a story about the power of Arts And…, a moment when, as she said, “The arts community met a civic need in a creative way.”

Her city, like lots of other places, is growing fast. So fast that traffic has gotten a lot worse in the center. City planners decided to encourage more people to start riding bikes to get around, improving the quality of life for everyone. What happened next? 

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