Get the FREE "Setting the Groundwork" workbook now! Get started on the Your Ladders 5-Step System!

Your Ladders

For Artists Coaching & Accountability Muse Mapping Workshops, Speaking & Consulting Services About Julie Hennrikus The Blog Subscribe today! Login

ARTS ADVOCACY--TELLING YOUR STORY

October 26 is #ArtsMatterDay in Massachusetts. Of course, it could be #ArtsMatterDay no matter where you live, but this effort is being lifted by MASSCreative, an arts advocacy agency for Massachusetts. I’ve worked with them for a number of years, and have learned a great deal about being an arts advocate from their team. As we are in an election cycle, it is a good time to talk about arts advocacy and what it means.

As an artist you understand the value of the arts. The arts are transformational, they build community, they offer new perspectives, they inspire, they teach creative and critical thinking skills, they foster collaboration. The list goes on. Take some time and make your own list.

The arts aren’t superfluous. They are vital to our overall well being. I know that in my heart and soul. But how do I help folks who don’t understand the value know that? Especially folks who are in the position to make policy decisions that affect the sector? Decisions around arts funding, or arts in education, or public art, or art space in public buildings? I’ve gotten in the habit of touching base with my elected officials about arts policy questions whenever they come up.

Here are some tips for being an arts advocate:

  • Sign up for advocacy alerts. You can do that through Americans for the Arts, your state or local arts councils, advocacy agencies like MASSCreative or the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition, or other resources. If folks have suggestions, leave them in the comments.
  • When you are talking to a public official, understand what they care about, and couch the conversation in those terms. If your representative cares about economic development, point to research around the impact of the arts of economic development.
  • When you meet an elected official, or go to a town hall meeting, have a question about arts policy ready to go. Let them know that you care about this issue, and that you’re a voter.
  • Be ready to tell your story of why the arts matter to you. Make it personal first, and then move to a broader impact statement.
  • Don’t assume everyone cares with the same passion you do. Ask them about their arts experiences (did they play an instrument in the school band, take dance lessons, work on the crew of the school shows) and let them know that their experience matters. Too often folks don’t count themselves as part of the field because they aren’t practitioners. Don’t make them feel separate, make them feel part of the solution.

Why do the #ArtsMatter to you? Let me know in the comments!

Want to make sure you get updates from me? Sign up for my mailing list!

Close

You're Almost There!

I'll send the workbook to you as soon as you sign up!