Monday, February 7, 2011

Love and Other Games

If you love the arts you need to come to Raleigh. That is a statement of fact, not opinion. Arts Day 2011 is Tuesday, April 12, and you need to be at your Capital. Do you think tax dollars should be invested in non-profit arts organizations? Do you believe North Carolina should have a statewide policy for arts education? How strongly do you believe? What are you willing to personally put forth to in support of your beliefs?

We all know the nature of change. It happens and it’s hard. The combination of economic and political change in North Carolina has created a tsunami on Jones Street. New leaders and new philosophies are in control, and while most elected officials have the best intentions, some are bent on adhering to campaign promises that could have devastating impact on the arts. And yes, Virginia, there is a rumor floating that a committee may be appointed to consider eliminating all state funding to non-profits.

But change can also work in our favor. We have the opportunity to make new friends and solidify existing relationships. We have a remarkable moment in time to move the arts from “nice to essential” in the minds of our state leaders. Do we expect to be affected by the state budget? Absolutely. Are we willing to see our arts industry crippled by short view thinking? Absolutely not.

Arts Day is a celebration and gathering of advocates who are willing to sit across from their Legislators and talk about the essential services provided by arts non-profit agencies. Services like jobs creation, goods and services, improved public education, small business development, community revitalization, and tourism growth. Our numbers and our energy tell our story when people come from all over the state to participate in democracy.

You do not have to be experienced to be effective. We provide advance information, assistance from regional captains in organizing the legislative visits, and training on how to deliver the message. Very few of us started down this road with any advocacy experience, but we’ll share what we’ve learned.

So put the excuses on the sidelines and enter the game. In this sport, individual action becomes a powerful movement. And we will need quite a lot of power to answer this tsunami.

More information, schedule, and registration available at