by Patricia Frischer
|Find out what elected official cares about and then relate your stories to that issue.
A new series Advocating for the Arts in 2024 presented by Americans for the Arts with webinars on advocacy was just launched. I have listened to the first one which was 1 ½ hours and made a brief summary for you. But I recommend that you watch the video yourself if you are wanting to advocate for funding or get your message out.
They worked to make the process easy and make everyone
comfortable so that an army of advocates can make sure that the arts are fully
supported. One voice can make a big
difference, and a united voice can be very powerful.
Start by finding out who your elected officials are. You can
find them all on the Americans for Arts Website just by entering zip code. You are important to them because you can vote for them. Or your organizations make a difference in their district. Or
your audiences come from their districts.
You can make contact with every local city, state, county
and federal elected delegates and their staff. Remember they are real people are at the other
end of the phone or email. So, use their names, especially the staffers when
contacting them. All offices have processes for meeting online and in person,
plus you can attend town halls meetings or meet and greet. You can also invite them to visit your
When you visit make sure you are prepared. what are your
three top issues. Tell a personal story,
maybe a problem that you have so they know what needs fixing. Better still,
present the fix as well. Use data (like from the recent AEF6 report) to support
your position. Gear the presentation to who you are speaking to so if meeting
with local official, speak about local issues. For example, you might show that
programs that support equity issues still have a positive economic value for
Leave paper summarizing and adding more information when
you leave. But remember to thank them and take a picture before you go to post
on social media.
What you are doing is building a relationship network of
people so add then to your mailing list and invite them to stuff. Schedule a
follow up if needed. If they ask you how much, be prepared to quote a number. It
must be a reasonable ask.
Advocacy is about telling your story and educating other
about what matters to you in the arts. So, your authenticity and passion are
your best tools. If elected officials don’t hear from us, they think everything
Start young and make advocacy for the arts part of your
everyday life. if you have trouble with
the process of getting help, tell them that, as a starting place. Put your
issue in social media or a newsletter. Group with other like-minded people to
have a strong voice
For the biggest success, find out what elected official
cares about and then relate your stories to that issue. There is a super tool
for this on the Arts in American website. But find out what their position is
by asking them. Then make sure what you ask for will not keep them from getting
If you can identify a problem and a real solution in an
existing bill, tell the personal story, supported by data, you can be really
The arts are nonpartisan…not left, right or center. They secret weapon of the arts is that they unite
In north and east and south counties we don’t have a lot of
hotels so the Tax On Tourist (TOT) does not amount to much. A percentage for
the arts only applies to large government building which have to include art in
their building budgets, but those are not often found outside of the City of
After watching and listening to this seminar, I realized we
could advocate for a local cultural sales tax in our county. California
has one of the lowest spending on the arts per capita in the USA at well under
a dollar. It is time to get the funding we really need.
Here is an example of what you could do in the next 30 days.
And here is the schedule for future webinars.