Each year, the Arts Council engages with elected officials about many arts-related issues. Individual voices can influence thinking on any issue; the arts are no different. And, Vermont’s size and democratic traditions mean that one person’s participation in the process can make a real difference for all Vermonters.
Vermont’s legislature convenes for a five-month period of decision-making and budget adoption. The 2016 session opened Tuesday, January 5. Here’s a clear three-point agenda and four specific ways that you can get involved.
While keeping careful watch over a broader range of concerns, the Arts Council advocates specifically for:
- an increase of $35,000 in the appropriation to the Arts Council. 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. (Good news, this has since been adopted!)
We know that other important issues will arise during the session. Some will be addressed as policy research issues, others with additional advocacy.
Individual and collective voices play a decisive role in decision-making. Connect with your elected officials about the issues that matter to you. Individual advocacy efforts sit along a spectrum—from deep, personal engagement with a particular official to clicking a few keys at your computer. Know this: Every action makes a difference!
The Council provides robust tools to keep you informed and connected with elected officials. Four simple steps will ready you to advocate for the arts.
Read the Council’s advocacy page. You’ll find basic information as well as links to recent data and other resources.
Enroll in the Council’s Action Center (click into the lower right hand box on this page). Once signed up, you will:
- receive the Advocacy Update—an e-newsletter distributed monthly during Vermont’s legislative session
- be registered to send immediate advocacy messages to your elected officials
- receive occasional, specific action alerts that call you to advocacy actions. (Last year, we alerted folks fewer than five times. Each time, success followed!)
Learn to navigate the Action Center. Just four boxes.
“Actions” at upper left describes current advocacy campaigns. Issues are organized into state and federal actions.
“Find Officials” at upper right lets you locate your elected officials, federal and state.
“Find Legislation” at lower left supports search for legislation by topic.
“Quick Sign Up” at lower right connects you to newsletters and alerts. We promise not to inundate your inbox!
Tuesday, March 29 is Arts Advocacy Day in Vermont. This is how to get involved.
If you have any advocacy questions or concerns, please send an email to Zon Eastes, Director of Outreach and Advancement.