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Advocacy

Throughout North Dakota, arts and culture are centered on building stronger communities, improving the quality of education, and fostering economic growth. As a state arts agency, NDCA cannot lobby state government or advocate for specific legislation. However, NDCA believes it is critical to expand awareness and the understanding of the power of the arts and culture, and humanities in building healthy, livable communities. NDCA is providing information and resources to help our allies in the cultural community tell their stories to government officials, private funders, and the public. Following is helpful information, and links to arts advocacy tool kits, publications, and web site resources:

Articles of Interest Regarding State Art Agencies, Supporting the Arts, and Advocacy:
Artsmarts: Why Cutting Arts Funding Is Not a Good Idea
~www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imagine/201102/artsmarts-why-cutting-arts-funding-is-not-good-idea

NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee – Policy
Arts, Culture and Economic Development

~www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16747

Kansas Gov. Abolishes Arts Commission; SC, TX Next on Chopping Block?
~www.clydefitchreport.com/2011/02/kansas-gov-abolishes-arts-commission-sc-tx-next-on-chopping-block

The NASAA Advocate - Advocacy and Lobbying: Speaking Up for the Arts

Advocacy and Lobbying: Speaking Up for the Arts, the newest issue of The NASAA Advocate, is a straight-forward presentation on the power of individual advocates to shape public policy in support of the arts. The new Advocate provides a teaching tool for turning arts supporters into arts advocates. With special attention to the advocacy responsibilities of arts organizations' board members, the new publications clears up the myths about lobbying and advocacy and suggests strategies for engaging arts organizations in lobbying for legislation that will help support the arts. To learn more and view this publication, visit: www.nasaa-arts.org/Advocacy/Advocacy-Tools/Advocacy-and-Lobbying-FINAL.pdf.

The NASAA Advocate - E-Advocacy: On-line Strategies for Arts Advocacy

The growth of the Internet has reinvented civic engagement and democratic partici­pation in the United States. More citizens feel empowered to contact their public officials through on-line advocacy.1 With the broad reach and the low cost of elec­tronic communications, Internet lobbying—electronic advocacy or e-advocacy—has become a powerful means of persuasion in our halls of government. To learn more and to view this issue of The NASAA Advocate, please visit: www.nasaa-arts.org/Advocacy/Advocacy-Tools/E-Advocacy-FINAL.pdf.

Arts Advocacy Tools: Access a wealth of tools to help you make your case, assess your advocacy strength, mobilize support and expand your influence: www.nasaa-arts.org/Advocacy/Advocacy-Tools/index.php.

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ Self-Evaluation Tool for Arts Organizations and Advocates

Arts organizations and arts advocates engage in a variety of strategies and techniques to build political support for the arts. The Arts Advocacy Checklist is designed to help you evaluate the level of your advocacy involvement against a broad range of activities aimed at enhancing the political environment for the arts in public policy. The checklist includes many approaches to advocacy that have contributed to successful outcomes for the arts in policy and legislation. Use this checklist to measure the extent of your arts advocacy activity. Assess the advocacy engagement of your arts organization, your audiences and the public you serve.  Once you've completed the checklist and identified areas for improvement, NASAA has a variety of tools to help you achieve your advocacy objectives. To access the online checklist, please visit: www.nasaa-arts.org/Advocacy/Advocacy-Tools/Arts-Advocacy-Checklist-for-Arts-Organizations-and-Advocates.php.

Americans for the Arts Advocacy Information link: http://www.artsusa.org/get_involved/advocate.asp

North Dakota Council on the Arts' Arts & Economic Impact Study

A copy of the study is available via this link. Results from a study conducted by Americans for the Arts in partnership with the North Dakota Council on the Arts, were released on October 17, 2007. The study examined the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in the state of North Dakota. Compelling new evidence from this study indicates that the nonprofit arts and culture are a $102 million industry in the state of North Dakota - one that supports 2,441 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $9 million in local and state government revenue.

Arts Funding Response and Readiness Kit

When you face a funding cut, you need to be able to take swift and efficient action to mitigate the situation—mobilize your advocates, create your message, and implement your strategy. To simplify this process for you, Americans for the Arts has developed this ever-expanding online tool to provide you with current information and key messaging, communications and advocacy strategies, and the research you need to make the case.

The Virtues: The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities and our nation:

  • Aesthetics: The arts create beauty and preserve it as part of culture
  • Creativity: The arts encourage creativity, a critical skill in a dynamic world
  • Expression: Artistic work lets us communicate our interests and visions
  • Identity: Arts goods, services, and experiences help define our culture
  • Innovation: The arts are sources of new ideas, futures, concepts, and connections
  • Preservation: Arts and culture keep our collective memory intact
  • Prosperity: The arts create millions of jobs and enhance economic health
  • Skills: Arts aptitudes and techniques are needed in all sectors of society and work
  • Social Capital: We enjoy the arts together, across races, generations, and places

~ (From the Americans for the Arts National Arts Index, Roland Kushner and Randy Cohen, to be published March 2009)

When Meeting with Decision-Makers, Keep in Mind the Following:

  • Brief - A legislator's time is limited.
  • Strategic - Research information about previous positions, voting records, and legislative and policy goals. Establish as many connections as possible between you and the decision-maker.
  • Specific - State the clear purpose and timeliness of your visit or communication
  • Informative - Give clear, local examples of why the measure should be supported or a proposed funding cut rescinded.
  • Bold - Ask for a particular action.
  • Good listener - Give the decision-maker a meaningful opportunity to state his/her position so you can begin a dialogue.
  • Respectful - Maintain a good working relationship regardless of outcomes. Do not treat meetings as a one-time opportunity; revisit issues on a regular basis. Become an information resource and cultural liaison to the decision-maker.
  • Appreciative - Acknowledge past support and always say thank you!

For more information and to access the Arts Funding Response and Readiness Kit, please visit: http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/toolkit/default.asp.

 
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