Vermont Arts Advocacy Day 2016
Every person in Vermont should have access to the arts and creativity in their life, education, and community.
That message will be pulled into sharp focus through activities at the State House March 29. Join in—from wherever you are—to connect with our state legislators through multiple channels throughout the day. Poetry and written testimonials along with in-person and virtual communication about the arts an creativity will speak to lawmakers as they move through their workday.
The Day’s Activities
The legislative morning will open with a poetry recitation by Anna Van Dine of Moretown.
This senior from Harwood Union High School was named first runner up in the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition held two weeks ago. More than 5,000 students from more than 40 schools honed their public speaking skills and built self confidence as they chose and learned poems for this contest.
Legislators will receive cards featuring the words of artists, arts educators, and arts administrators with a challenge to collect them all. Cards will appear in mailboxes, come from colleagues, and be shared in the cafeteria and Card Room.
Over 50 unique messages address the importance of the arts. Powerful statements include, “Creating artistic communities helps people to bond together with common purpose and respect,” “Art is not only the expression of unique ideas, it is a record of contemporary voice within a community,” and, “The arts are a driving force in the economy and a huge factor in the quality of life of the state.”
Card Room Presence
A continuously running slide show of over fifty testimonials from constituents around the state will greet lawmakers as they mingle in the Card Room—the daily headquarters for advocates. Council staff will be available to talk with legislators.
Vermont’s House of Representatives is the same size as those in Connecticut, New York, and Texas. Whereas a single representative in Texas serves 180,000 people, in Vermont that number is 4,133.
You are an advocate any time you communicate with your legislators about the arts. Tuesday, March 29 is the day to do this collectively. Legislators will recognize that you have reached out to them. Every effort counts.
The very best form of advocacy is personal—a face-to-face meeting or a personal phone call. You can also easily express your support through the Council’s Action Center. Here are the still-active points of the 2016 advocacy agenda:
- support the Governor’s recommended increase for the Arts Council’s appropriation (to $680,000). President Obama recently signed the 2017 federal budget which includes an increase to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This means that Vermont will receive an increase from the NEA that, by law, must be matched 1:1 by the state legislature.
- support passage of a bill to establish the Vermont Creative Network. Drawing on the model of Vermont’s Farm-to-Plate network, established in 2009, a proposed bill will formally acknowledge the Creative Network.
Remember: Every voice makes a difference!