What is Advocacy?
The Vermont Arts Council defines advocacy as a political process in which individuals or groups of people influence public policy and resource allocation decisions at national, state, and local levels.
Government decision makers deserve to be well informed as they craft policy and legislation. It is fundamentally useful to speak about the real value that arts and culture provide in our communities and in Vermont.
Your voice makes a difference
A single opinion has proven to have considerable strength, especially when expressed collectively. There are a number of avenues for effective advocacy.
- Use the Council’s Action Center to stay informed
- Speak directly with elected officials in public meetings or in person
- In public forums, ask candidates what their positon is for supporting arts and culture
- Send personal letters or email to your elected officials
- Invite your elected officials to arts events in your community
The Arts Council's 2016 advocacy agenda
While keeping careful watch over a broader range of concerns, the Arts Council advocates specifically for:
- support of 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.
- 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.
- adoption of the National Core Arts Standards by the Agency of Education. While this issue is not a strictly legislative issue (adoption will be accomplished by the state board of education), it nonetheless is an important advocacy issue.
The Arts Council as advocate
The Council works diligently to secure funding in support of arts and culture by engaging in:
- National Arts Advocacy Day
Each March, Arts Council staff travel to Washington, DC to meet with Vermont’s elected officials as well as other state arts agency leaders.
- Advocacy Updates
During the Vermont legislative session the Council distributes news and, sometimes, calls to action about the Arts Council’s appropriation and other arts-related issues. (January, 2016, February, 2016, March, 2016, March 28, 2016 — special, April, 2016, April 10, 2016 — special, May, 2016)
- Vermont Arts Advocacy Day
Each year, arts advocates from around the state use this one day to connect with elected officials about the value of arts and culture in individual and collective life.
The Arts Council fosters relationships that advance the arts and culture agenda. The Council works purposefully with the Department of Education, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, and others.
- The Economic Footprint of the Arts in Vermont, updated July, 2014
- The Economic Footprint of the Arts in Vermont, November, 2010