The Importance of State Captains for Arts Advocacy Day

Posted by Eleanor Shingleton , Apr 13, 2016 0 comments

There is one thing without which Arts Advocacy Day could not happen—State Arts Advocacy Captains!  Though Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Advocacy Captains are instrumental in fighting for the arts year-round, their work is also integral to the success of Arts Advocacy Day each spring.

Rodney Van Valkenburg (Tennessee State Captain)State Arts Advocacy Captains are the eyes and ears on the ground in each state nationwide, serving to recruit the best and most dedicated advocates from their state to attend Arts Advocacy Day. During the months leading up to Arts Advocacy Day, captains make sure colleagues, artists, university students, and concerned members of their states know the importance of bringing your voice to Capitol Hill to meet with your Members of Congress directly in the fight for arts and arts education.      

Captains spread the word through e-blast campaigns, social media and traditional outreach within their state. At Arts Advocacy Day 2016, a whopping 44 states were represented and 15 state captains had more than 10 attendees in their delegation!

Once State Captains have recruited a delegation full of experienced, novice and student advocates to attend Arts Advocacy Day, they begin planning and preparing for Washington. The first step in this process is to schedule meetings with Members of Congress. Captains reach out to every member serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate from their state to request a meeting to discuss supporting the arts and arts education.

Linda Woggon (Ohio State Captain) with her student advocates.To make sure each meeting is successful and beneficial, state captains rely on their relationships, experiences and Americans for the Arts’ resources on their congressional delegation to choose which personal stories, talking points, and data will resonate most with each Member. In short, state captains have the formidable task of making the case for the arts to every Member on Capitol Hill across the political spectrum!

State captains are the leaders for the Arts Advocacy Day (AAD) attendees from their state. Captains hold conference calls and meetings prior to AAD to ensure that each advocate is prepared to take on Washington when they arrive. Captains study the Congressional Arts Handbook and compile advocate packets consisting of state-specific data, arts support records and resources that attendees rely on. Year after year, captains and the information they share with their attendees are an invaluable resource in their state, not only at Arts Advocacy Day, but throughout the year.  

Once Arts Advocacy Day finally arrives, each captain leads their advocates in executing a game-plan for their state’s Capitol Hill visits to make each a success. Many of the State Captains serve in this capacity yearly, forging deep and fruitful relationships with Members of Congress and their arts and education staffers. The State Arts Advocacy Captains’ dedicated work with advocates, Members of Congress and congressional staffers from their state makes each captain invaluable to the success of Arts Advocacy Day!

State Captains at 2016 Arts Advocacy Day

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