Q: What is the reason that Americans for the Arts is making this programmatic change now?
A: In 2022, Americans for the Arts staff was asked to re-imagine our federal advocacy work to ensure it conforms to our values and mission, namely:
- Does the work address the priority needs of the field?
- Are we working as effectively as possible?
- Is the programming that we advocate for equitable?
- Are we partnering with organizations to elevate diverse voices?
Q: Why is Americans for the Arts making this change and not organizing a national arts advocacy day?
A: Effective advocacy and lobbying techniques evolve over time, and the pandemic exacerbated an already changing field. In the past, large-scale Capitol Hill days were seen as highly effective ways to lobby Capitol Hill. However, that has been changing over the past 5-7 years and when the pandemic halted all Hill visits, the trend only increased. While large Hill Days can still have value, that value has diminished. Given the ongoing increases in costs, not only for hotel rooms and airfare, but to host such events, it is both inefficient and inequitable to pursue this kind of event in 2023.
Q: Will Americans for the Arts still produce a Congressional Arts Handbook?
A: Americans for the Arts will still create arts advocacy resources, similar to the information included in the Congressional Arts Handbook, and we will provide extensive and customized training for the state and district captains.
Q: Why are smaller Fly-ins more effective?
A: Smaller Fly-ins are more strategic and more nimble, allowing for greater flexibility in securing meeting requests and customizing training for each meeting. With smaller events, we can schedule meetings for ideal dates and times during politically strategic times during the legislative process, especially with those members of Congress with an outsized role in negotiations of key legislation that will impact the entire country.
Q: Will the National Arts Action Summit (Arts Advocacy Day) happen again in the future?
A: We are using 2023 as a year to test a new advocacy approach, but that does not mean that the National Arts Action Summit may not be re-implemented in a future year. For the time being, we are focusing our efforts on this new Equitable Advocacy approach.
Q: Will Americans for the Arts’ federal legislative staff continue to lobby and advocate for the wide breadth of federal arts issues?
A: The breadth of issues, focus, and priority will be heavily dependent on priorities identified by the Americans for the Arts Policy Survey, as well as the political environment and discussions with state and district captains, BIPOC cultural organizations, the Cultural Advocacy Group, and other stakeholders.
Q: How do you nominate a District Captain and what are their criteria?
A: Americans for the Arts will gladly accept suggestions for District Captains. Ideally, district captains will be a resident constituent of the targeted Congressional district, is an arts leader in the community, and has working relationships with political leaders within the community.
Q: Who gets to attend the virtual advocacy events?
A: Everyone is invited to attend and participate in Americans for the Arts virtual advocacy events.
Q: Who can I contact about the new Federal District Captains program, Fly-ins and Fly-outs, and upcoming advocacy webinars?
A: Please contact the following federal government affairs staff: Tooshar Swain, director of public policy, or Tera Proby, advocacy manager.