Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a dance lecturer at the University of Texas Arlington. She also serves as assistant director of UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble.
With Arts Advocacy Day just around the corner (Aug. 17 to be exact) and cultural funding in next year’s city of Dallas budget being cut by 17 percent, the state of the arts in North Texas has been thrust into the spotlight. But the focus on the arts is not just at the local level; national non-profits and political agencies are taking notice.
The Americans for the Arts Action Fund has begun the 50 States 50 Days initiative, which continues through Sept. 18. It seeks to support local advocacy activities in all 50 states in as many congressional districts as possible.
The Arts Action Fund is urging arts advocates to use their institutions at home to convey their message about the arts to Congress. By showcasing the activities within individual arts organizations and the impact they have on economic development – like creating jobs in the arts, promoting arts education, and creating partnerships between artists, institutions, and local policymakers – it’s the hope of Americans for the Arts that the federal government will take notice of the value of the arts and their state counterparts.
An activity you can easily take part in is helping the Arts Action Fund provide a Congressional Arts Survey to those running for election all across the country. This election season provides an opportunity to send to Congress pro-arts lawmakers who realize the value of the arts in fueling creativity and innovation, educating our children, enriching lives and strengthening communities. The outcome of this election will be critical in keeping funding for the arts from slipping backwards and to strengthen arts education. To help guide voters in understanding the arts policy positions of these candidates, the Arts Action Fund will be collecting candidate surveys and posting them online for voters to review.
Though the cultural centers in Dallas have been able to maintain their hours of operation and to continue to support the arts in North Texas by providing a house for local and emerging artists, they are by no means in the clear. Every little bit helps, and every voice heard in support of the arts is important. Participating in Arts Advocacy Day is one way, and checking out what Americans for the Arts is doing is another.
Visit Americans for the Arts Action Fund’s E-Advocacy Election Center to:
- Find information about candidates running in every federal and state race.
- Register to vote.
- Enter your address and zip code to locate your polling site and see absentee ballot deadlines for your state.