National Arts Advocacy Day 2010
National Arts Advocacy Day (#AAD2010 on Twitter), is a meeting of Arts Advocates from across the country to educate and prepare for advocacy on behalf of the arts with their local Senators, Congressmen and women, and House Representatives. Advocates include artists, administrators and concerned citizens. I was invited by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance to attend.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman, Rocco Landesman welcomed the Advocates in a rousing speech on the importance of the arts in our communities. Participants are trained in the “ask”, or what they should discuss with their local governmental representative through a series of sessions and breakouts. These sessions included those on lobbying, Federal Arts Policy Training, and discussions of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education Programs. Randy Cohen, creator of the National Arts Index discussed this comprehensive guide to the economic, educational, and social impact of the Arts nationally, and within the community. He helped registrants understand the data and implement into their “ask”. Some similar information can be found in the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study.
We were all treated to a rousing performance of the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Men and Women of the Gospel Choir. They served as an introduction the 23rd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. This year’s lecturer was the Honorable Mayor Joe Riley, from Charleston, S.C. Mayor Riley is the founder of the Mayors' Institute for City Design and has trained and served as mentor to myriad American mayors through the years. He discussed his revitalization of Charleston and the importance of creating beautiful public spaces for the health and vitality of citizens and their communities. He challenged the audience to view city planning as an art and an important part of revitalizing America He was introduced by one of said mentees, Alaskan Senator Mark Begich.
The following day there was a Congressional Arts Kick Off Event hosted by Actors Kyle MacLachlan, Jeff Daniels, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. This lead into the House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations Hearing on Arts Funding, with witnesses including MacLachlan, Daniels, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch and our very own Mayor Nutter. Advocates then proceeded to their appointments with their congresspersons to discuss arts funding and other concerns relating to the arts and arts education.
This was a wonderful experience for me. A chance to advocate on the behalf of arts and arts education at a national level with like-minded peers and accomplished veterans, celebrities, artists, politicians and concerned citizens from around the country. Special thanks to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance for the invitation.
You can check out a short interview with two generous members of the Americans for the Arts team, Graham Dunstan (Director of Marketing) and Jamie Boese (Project Director, 50th Anniversary Convention) here.
PHOTOS: (RIGHT) Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Kyle MacLachlan at the "Arts Build Communities" Congressional hearing; Photo Courtesy of the Americans for the Arts FlickR stream.
(LEFT) Jeff Daniels at the Congressional Arts Kick Off; Photo Courtesy of the Americans for the Arts FlickR stream