posted by Christopher Howard — Feb 07, 2012
CAA encourages you to register and take part in three upcoming events this winter and spring in Washington, DC: Arts Advocacy Day, Humanities Advocacy Day, and Museums Advocacy Day. At each, participants meet their senators and representatives in person to advocate increased federal support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Previous lobbying experience isn’t necessary. Training sessions and practice talks take place the day before the main events—that’s why, for example, Arts Advocacy Day is actually two days, not one. Participants are also prepped on the critical issues and the range of funding requested of Congress to support these federal agencies. It is at these training sessions where you meet—and network with—other advocates from your states. The main sponsoring organization for each event makes congressional appointments for you.
You may have mailed a letter or sent a prewritten email to your congressperson or senator before, but legislators have an algorithm of interest for pressing issues, in which a personal visit tops all other forms of communication. As citizen lobbyists, it’s also important to have a few specific examples about how arts funding has affected you: don’t be afraid to name-drop major cultural institutions—such as your city’s best-known museum or nonprofit art center—in your examples of why the visual arts matter in your state.
If you cannot attend the three advocacy days in person, please send an email or fax to your representatives expressing your concern about continued and increased funding for the visual arts. If you don’t know your representative or senators, you can look them up at www.congress.org.
The American Association of Museums (AAM) leads Museums Advocacy Day, taking place February 27–28, 2012, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center. With support from numerous nonprofit organizations, including CAA, AAM is developing the legislative agenda for this year’s event. Likely issues will include federal funding for museums, museums and federal education policy, and charitable giving issues affecting museums.
The entire museum field is welcome to participate: staff, volunteers, trustees, students, and even museum enthusiasts. Museums Advocacy Day is the ideal chance for new and seasoned advocates to network with museum professionals from their state and to meet staff in congressional offices. Registration has closed, but AAM is taking participants on a case-by-case basis.
The National Humanities Alliance (NHA), along with a host of other groups and learned societies, including CAA, sponsors Humanities Advocacy Day, to be held March 19–20, 2012, in conjunction with its annual meeting. Scholars, higher education and association leaders, and policy makers will convene first at George Washington University for the conference and then on Capitol Hill for congressional visits and a reception.
The preliminary program includes: NHA’s annual business meeting for voting members; discussion of humanities funding and other policy issues; a luncheon and keynote address with Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University; and presentations of current work in the humanities. Learn more about registration, which is open until March 1, 2012.
To be held April 16–17, 2012, Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together America’s cultural and civic organizations with hundreds of grassroots advocates, all of whom will underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Sponsored by Americans for the Arts and related organizations, including CAA, the event starts at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on the first day, before participants head to Capitol Hill on the second. Registration can be made through March 30, 2012.