What Is Advocacy?
Advocacy means informing and educating those in positions of power, people in the media, and the general public about the importance of Arts Education in school and the impact of art, or lack there of, on people in general.
It is up to us - the artists, the members of the audience, the parents, friends and family members of the artists - to explain the importance and value of Arts Education to lawmakers
How YOU Can Participate
3 Ways You Can Advocate For Arts Education
What you do or don't say matters in arts advocacy. Your voice - as a member of the Arts Board, as an administrator, or even as an audience member - carries the unique ability to help boost public understanding of the arts. Here are three easy and effective ways to voice your support for the arts in the state of Oregon without lobbying or asking for money.
Congratulate The Winners
After the legislators representing the Oregon state house and senate districts are sworn into office send them a letter of congratulations on their successful election. You don't need to write several pages or ask them for anything, instead what your goal should be is to establish contact with them and show that the arts are an important and involved part of the electorate.
You don't have to share a legislator's party affiliation and you don't have to have voted for them in order to reach out to them. Hearing from you at the beginning of a term will help to set a positive tone for considering policies and funding decisions which affect the arts in the future.
Addresses of those in office can be found at https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/ . You can also find e-mail addresses and phone numbers of the officials.
Extend An Invitation
By inviting politicians to an Arts Event they are able to directly experience what your organization does. As they experience the impact of your work firsthand, legislators will more than likely take note of the level of enthusiasm the participants and guests are showing for the event. They may also possibly take notice of friends and supporters are in the crowd.
Invite an elected official and their family to attend a community arts event, a performance or a school activity.
If an official attends an important event, make sure to acknowledge their presence at the event.
Thank the elected official for funding the state arts council.
Take a photo or multiple photos that can be displayed in the elected officials office or that they can share on social media
The best time to invite an elected official to your event is when your legislature is out of session. During this time many of your states politicians return to their home districts. Focus on free events due to the fact that ethics regulations may restrict elected officials from accepting tickets that hold monetary value.
If your organization is an Oregon state arts agency grantee, your award will come with the the requirement of acknowledging support from the state, whether it is by using a logo or special language. While this may appear to be a bureaucratic exercise it is much more than that. It is an essential way for you to show what public arts funding accomplishes! Securing public funding is a huge achievement so make sure you boast loud and proud about it. Place the logo or text in a prominent spot on your website and on marketing materials. Also think about celebrating your award in your monthly newsletter(if applicable) or via social media channels. The more publicity and credit the better for you and your organizations future.
Never Give Up Advocating For The Arts
Continue advocating for Arts Education. The more you do and the louder your voice the more elected officials will acknowledge that funding arts in school is an important step for enriching children's lives.