The Buckeye state was well-represented in Washington D.C. at the 2015 Arts Advocacy Day on March 24th. More than 40 arts advocates from Ohio attended, making our state’s delegation the biggest and best of all the states. Arts Advocacy Day is sponsored each year by Americans for the Arts.
During preparations for our Congressional visits we were briefed on key policy issues, observed a mock congressional visit, and planned our strategy in state caucuses. The evening before the visits, we traveled to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for an evening of inspirational musical performances and the 28th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture. Introduced by the award winning hip hop artist Common, this year’s lecture was given by Norman Lear. The groundbreaking television producer, author and social activist, didn’t disappoint. His lecture was candid, funny and moving as he skewered the powers that be and made us laugh at our human failings.
The morning of Arts Advocacy Day, we met in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building where turnaround artist and actor Doc Shaw, actress and playwright Holland Taylor, NEA Chairman Jane Chu, NEH Chairman Bro Adams and several Members of Congress ”revved up the troops”. The 2015 Congressional Arts Leadership Award was presented to Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). In accepting the award, Sen. Udall said, “We need a United States of America that puts the arts front and center of American life.”
We visited the offices of both of our U.S. Senators and all of our Members of Congress and urged them to support $155 million for the NEA, reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, provide funding for arts education programs and retain incentives for charitable giving. To learn more about the issues discussed with Ohio’s Congressional delegation, you can view the 2015 Congressional Arts Handbook, here.
I was pleased to serve as Ohio’s State Captain for Arts Advocacy Day this year and want to thank each of the committed arts advocates who took the time to speak truth to power. It was a great day and the Ohio arts community, once again, did itself proud!