Arts Advocacy Day: Lobbying for the Arts

Written by John Eger

Arts Advocacy Day 2014 is this week (March 24-25). But what to advocate this year? More money? Always nice. More prestige? That, too.


Arts Advocacy Day
March 24-25, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Hosted by Americans for the Arts and cosponsored by 85+ national arts organizations, National Arts Advocacy Day is the largest gathering of its kind, bringing together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations. Grassroots advocates from across the country come to Washington DC to meet with their members of Congress in support of issues like arts education policy, the charitable tax deduction, and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.What’s At Stake In 2014?
Between tax reform, budget battles, and education reauthorization, support for arts and arts education is facing many challenges on Capitol Hill this year. As Congress and the administration grapple with ever-changing policy proposals, it is imperative that arts advocates come to Washington, DC to make sure the arts to make their voices heard!


Strategize with experienced advocates during an interactive role play session on how to make the case for the arts and arts education to your members of Congress.

Network with your fellow arts advocates from across the country and go on congressional visits led by State Captains.

Learn the latest research facts and figures on the arts to help make your case.

This year, we’re excited to announce some program changes that will improve training opportunities to help advocates be more successful at Arts Advocacy Day. These skills will make you a more effective advocate for the arts on the local level:

Specialized policy briefings for beginner and advanced advocates

A new breakout session for student advocates to learn how to take action back on their campuses

Increased time for advocates to network and plan their visits to Capitol Hill

One-on-one professional development consultations with an advocacy expert to practice making the case for the arts
Hear Google staff present their latest nonprofit tools and learn about their Cultural Institute project

Join us on Facebook for the latest updates!

Use #AAD14 to spread the word about Arts Advocacy Day on March 24-25, 2014 in Washington, DC!

The argument I would put forth to artists and art organizations alike — who most likely will be calling on local, regional politicians and Congress — is the role that art can and must play in the everyday life of every human being, in our schools, and our community as never before. This has become an economic, as well as a social, imperative.

Given the outsourcing of jobs and off shoring of whole businesses — all consequences of globalization of course — there is an urgent need to define this age we’re in, and to advocate for recognition and meaningful change in attitudes that the arts are not only nice but also necessary to the wealth and well-being of our nation.

If we fail to alert America to this looming crisis, we will only see a continued downward spiral of our economy, our young people will not find the work they want and need, the purchasing power of the average family will dwindle, and the state of America’s prowess in both the economic and political arena will be lost.

Daniel Bell, author and Harvard sociologist, in a book called The Coming Post Industrial Society first published in 1973 looked backward in time and noted how the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney transformed the farm, forced people into the cities and created what we now call the Industrial Revolution.

He could see that computers and telecommunications like the cotton gin of an earlier era were bringing about yet another shift in the global economy, which he called the Post Industrial Society. Bell’s treatise was the first literary effort that identified structural changes in society leading to the Information Age.

Now, 40 or so years later, we are struggling to define yet another shift in the basic structure of the world’s economy. We know it’s global, and Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has told us, it’s “flat.” But it is creativity — simply defined as “the quality or ability to create or invent something, originality” — that best defines the quality most of us need to succeed in the new economy. And it is art that best leads us to creativity and in turn, innovation.

But again, it is not as important what we call this new age. Call it The Creative Age as Business Week once did or The Age of Innovation, which Business Week later did thinking that might appeal more to the business reader, or call it The Age of Creativity and Innovation and make everyone happy.

What is important is that we recognize that a whole new economy and society based upon creativity and innovation is emerging and that, as a consequence, we recognize the vital importance of reinventing our communities, our schools, our businesses, our government to meet the challenges such major shifts in the structure of the economy are compelling.

Tax reform, education reauthorization, and support for arts and arts education will come more easily if that support is seen and understood to be an economic imperative. Nothing less will ensure America’s dominant economic, social and political position in the 21st century.

John M. Eger, Director of the Creative Economy Initiative at San Diego State University (SDSU) is the Van Deerlin Endowed Chair of Communications and Public Policy, and teaches in the School of Journalism and Media Studies, and the SDSU Honors Program. Follow John M. Eger on Twitter:



Arts Advocacy Day: Lobbying for the Arts

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