By Jennifer Sadler
The arts exist not only for social, cultural or entertainment value. They also have major impact on the economy and education and serve as a primary way for communities to preserve and celebrate our culture and heritage. We must strive to keep the arts strong and vibrant, and because of the current economic downturn, community support is more important now than ever.
Educating both the public and legislators on the true impact of the arts must be a primary goal for any arts advocate. Arts advocacy involves sharing your views and opinions with the elected officials who make decisions impacting your arts community or organization. Effective advocacy hinges on continuous education and communication among your supporters, their decision makers at the local, state and federal levels, and the public.
As an arts supporter, you already know the value of the arts. But to take that support to a higher level, it is crucial to know the facts as you build your case for the arts. Many local and national arts groups such as GCAC, the Ohio Arts Council, and arts-specific advocacy organizations such as Ohio Citizens for the Arts and Americans for the Arts have created pages on their Web sites to help individuals and organizations to develop key objectives and talking points and increase the power and effectiveness of their messages. Most sites provide links to the tools and information necessary to become a successful arts advocate.
There are many reasons to take your level of support up a notch and get more actively involved in your arts community. There may be arts programs in your local schools being cut as budgets shrink and levies fail. A group may be looking in your neighborhood for property to invest in to open art studios. Or funding cuts may be on the ballot that would affect your local community center where you and your neighbors enjoy arts programming. You can help build support—at your school and in your community with decision makers and legislators.
It’s easy to get involved, and you can choose any level that’s comfortable for you from simply writing letters and e-mails in response to action alerts from advocacy networks to meeting with legislators and school board members or signing up to share your opinion in front of City Council.
The Columbus Arts Marketing Association (CAMA) recently hosted a panel discussion on making your case for arts advocacy and the economic impact.
The panel included Donna Collins, Mike Brown, Michael T. Evans and Jami Goldstein--all experts from different industries and backgrounds. The panelists had great tips on how to start taking action and effectively communicate your organization’s economic value to stakeholders, sponsors and elected officials.
By Jennifer Sadler
GCAC recently interviewed Dionne Custer Edwards, a writer and arts educator serving K-12 students and teachers at the Wexner Center for the Arts, where she pioneered several innovative K-12 school programs including two high school programs: Pages, a multi-visit writing-based arts program and WorldView: Cultural Intersections in Contemporary Art. In 2006, she received a Fellowship for Emerging Women Leaders in Nonprofit from the Academy of Leadership and Governance at the Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts. Community-based partnerships and projects in the arts and education are commitments she integrates in her work. She serves on the Board of Trustees for The Wellington School, and also works in partnership through community service with several other local organizations including Ohio Arts Council and GCAC. For her work and leadership in the arts, she was recently awarded a leadership fellowship with Americans for the Arts.
Old Hilliardfest Presented by the Hilliard Arts Council
The 26th annual Old Hilliardfest coming up on Saturday, September 10 will feature live entertainment on five stages, an art fair with more than 50 artisans selling their wares, hands-on art activities for youth and adults, a sunflower show, a street fair, kids’ games and rides, a car show, food and more! The event is held in historic Hilliard and is infused with hometown charm!
Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow Presented by the Wexner Center
Traveling to the Wexner Center from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow is the first major survey of this acclaimed painter’s post-apocalyptic work. The show features nearly 40 vivid paintings from the past 25 years, including several of Rockman’s monumental pieces that tackle environmental issues.
Put a Little Orchestra in Your Life with ProMusica’s 2011-2012 Season
See the faces of worldwide talent right here in Columbus! ProMusica Chamber Orchestra’s 33rd season brings renowned guest conductors and captivating guest artists to the intimate stages of the Southern Theatre and the Pontifical College Josephinum throughout the 2011-2012 season. An additional subscription series concert and a special New Year’s Eve celebration offer more excitement than ever.