Advocacy Is A Habit Of Mind

Advocacy is a habit of mind. Spend a few minutes each day to be informed. Read emails, e-news, and action alerts from Ohio Citizens for the Arts – we’ll keep you up-to-date about the state budget and the process for securing public funding for the arts. There are many reliable sources of information – many are listed in this article – read on!
Ohio Citizens for the Arts

Talking Points to support arts and culture through the Ohio Arts Council’s Budget.
•A research report released by Bowling Green State University, Northwest Arts Exchange, and Ohio Citizens for the Arts: Ohio Arts: A Foundation of Innovation, Creativity and Economic Strength will provide you with five key points about the impact of the creative industries to businesses and jobs in Ohio.
•Ohio Arts Council 2011 grant awards (by county) help you talk about the impact of state funding for the arts and arts education in your community.
•The OCA Blog keeps you connected with information from Ohio Citizens for the Arts.

To help you connect with your elected officials Ohio Citizens for the Arts offers the following resources:

E-Advocacy Center – your one stop sight for desk top advocacy!
•Contact information for members of the Ohio House of Representatives
•Contact information for members of the Ohio Senate
• Photo directory for the Ohio House of Representatives
• Photo directory for the Ohio Senate

The following websites are on our favorites list and boast a wealth of resources:

Ohio Arts Council  
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Americans for the Arts 
Getting started. Once you’ve read the Talking Points to support arts and culture through the Ohio Arts Council think about the different aspects of your life-personal, work and civic-what are a few key points you can make about the value of public funding for the arts, including access, education, economic development, and quality of life. 
People you can count on. Who among your circle of friends and colleagues also values the arts and arts education? Who are the individuals you hold in high esteem that are influential in your community and the state? How can you work with these individuals to communicate your collective voice of ideas to support public funding for the arts? Make a list of people you can count on to help you speak up for the arts.  Share this email and other messages (e-news, action alerts, tips for advocates, etc.) from Ohio Citizens for the Arts with everyone on your list.

Make strategic connections. Now that you’re armed with information, data, and your own stories you are ready to deliver your message with whom will you communicate your message?  Consider starting with state officials during the current state budget season:

Governor Kasich
Ohio House of Representatives
Ohio Senate

If you don’t know who your elected officials are you simply go to the Ohio Citizens for the Arts’ E-Advocacy Center and type your zip code into the E-Advocacy box.  It really is that easy … you’ll be directed to the information you seek!
Share your views and success stories. We are in the participation era due in large part to changes in technology. From Facebook posts or 140-character tweets to an opinion piece in the newspaper, share your views and your story often. Focus your communications through a unified message that can be sustained. And remember, your stories and ideas help decision-makers create public policies that improve people’s lives and the places where they live. The arts are part of the solution!
Acknowledge public funding. If you or your organization receives public funding to support the arts or arts education at the local, state, and/or federal levels openly credit your public funding sources. Media releases, social networking sites, webpages, letters to the editor, and public announcements can easily include a line or two about your public funding sources – all of which take little time to create, but make an enormous impact. 
Remember to say thank you! Legislators tell us all the time that they respond to the requests of their constituents and are rarely, if ever, acknowledged for their time or efforts.  Always let your elected officials know that you appreciate their efforts on behalf of public funding for the arts.  It’s as simple as a hand written note, email, or phone call.
A single voice can make a difference.  Make a commitment to do what you are able to do, no matter how small it may seem, to effectively communicate the value of public funding for arts and culture. Start believing that a single voice can make a difference and your actions will be more gratifying and powerful than you can imagine!  You will inspire others to take action too.
Widen your circle of friends. Invite friends, colleagues, artists, and others to join you in delivering their own message in support of public funding for the arts. A business owner can make a meaningful case about arts and economic development. A school principal brings additional credibility to your case for arts in the schools.  Parents and students can easily make the case for a complete education that includes the arts.  Arts organization Board members are able to articulate the value of public funding for the arts and the leverage it brings to securing additional funding.  Students make great advocates – they know first-hand about the impact of the arts in their education, personal life, and community.
And finally, we thank you! Your time and effort in joining with Ohio Citizens for the Arts to advocate for arts and culture in Ohio is greatly appreciated.  Funding to the Ohio Arts Council through the state budget has the impetus to renew Ohio – one child, one family, one school, one community at a time.  The collective effort across the state just might change the world.  Thank you for being the advocate we’ve been looking for today!
Adapted from a variety of sources from:
Ohio Citizens for the Arts
American for the Arts Monograph Volume 1 Number 2
Ohio Arts Council, Focusing the Light, Volume 1, Arts Advocacy and Planning

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