Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Americans for the Arts Logo

Americans for the Arts’ national arts advocacy approach has evolved to position the arts as a driver for community development year-round. After more than 25 years hosting large annual advocacy conferences, the organization has shifted to working with smaller groups composed of local arts agencies, state arts agencies, and state arts advocacy organizations in order to develop tailored and targeted approaches to bring together arts advocates from across the nation to meet with legislators, and advocate for equitable resources and policies that support the arts and culture ecosystem.

The first of these 12-month equitable advocacy programs starts today, April 18 and 19, 2023, and includes 12 representatives from arts agencies in ten states including Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

“Americans for the Arts is grateful to these advocates for taking time from their busy schedules to fly to Washington, D.C., to collectively advocate for additional arts funding and better policies from Congress,” said Nolen V. Bivens, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “The resulting funding and support from Congress has a direct impact on the arts field as a whole from state and local arts agencies to individual artists. Through this collective advocacy, all elected officials will better understand and realize the substantial impact of the arts and the creative economy upon the lives of every person.”

This cohort of advocates will spend a full day in training, hosted by Americans for the Arts, on the issues and topics at hand for their respective states. The following day, they will meet with their state’s members of Congress in the Senate and the House to discuss and advocate for funding for:

  • the NEA and NEH through the Interior Appropriation Sub Committee;
  • community arts engagement (arts and healing) in the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs Committees through Veterans Affairs Appropriations and Defense Appropriations Subcommittees; and
  • arts education programs in the Department of Education through Labor, Health and Human Services Committees and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

This week’s Americans for the Arts Advocacy participants are:

  • Dinah Minot, Executive Director - Creative Portland - ME
  • Sara Morgan, Director, Art Museum of South Texas– TX
  • Heather Adams, Executive Director of Arts Missoula – MT
  • Todd Hawkins, Executive Director, City of Irving Arts & Culture– TX
  • Wesley Gentle, President, Arts Fort Worth – TX
  • Manny Cawaling, Executive Director, Inspire Washington -WA
  • Randall Reid-Smith Governor's Curator, West Virginia Department of Arts– WV
  • Lynne McCormack, Executive Director, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts– RI
  • Ben Brown, Council Chair, National Assembly of State Arts Councils– AK
  • Michelle LaFlamme-Childs, Executive Director, New Mexico Arts– NM
  • Rebekah Moore, Program Director, The arts Council of Greater New Haven – CT
  • Joseph Frandoni, Deputy Director, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County – MD

Each of the four “fly-ins” this year will be scheduled based on the appropriations process that Capitol Hill is debating and focused on at that time. The next session will take place in early May in Washington, DC, and include arts leaders from California, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, as well as at-home advocacy meetings with elected officials in Nevada and Minnesota.

For more information, please follow along through our social media platforms at @Americans4Arts.

Established in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in the United States, and it is committed to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for everyone to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.


Rachelle Roe, Media Relations
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Janice Torres, PR
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