policy and advocacy
Arts Advocates Visit Congress for Arts on the Hill
July 20, 2004—Americans for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) brought together arts, education, and policy leaders on Capitol Hill as part of Arts on the Hill, a day of advocacy and lobbying by the arts community. The critical need for federally funded arts programs was addressed, and grassroots advocates from across the country had the opportunity to help shape federal arts policy by interacting directly with their elected officials.
Arts on the Hill, the culminating event of pARTicipate 2004, the joint conference of Americans for the Arts and NASAA, kicked off with a breakfast in the historic Senate Russell Caucus Room hosted by Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch and NASAA CEO Jonathan Katz. Artistic performances featured Shannon DeVido, an honorary finalist of the 2001 VSA arts Panasonic Young Soloists Award as well as performances by members of the Washington National Opera Institute for Young Singers. Numerous elected officials took the podium to rally arts advocates before they begin their Congressional visits. Speakers at the reception included:
- Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus
- Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus
- Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)
- Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)
- Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
- Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA)
- Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), who introduced his constituent, Amanda Brown of the Young Singers. During his introduction, Rep. Hill agreed to become the 188th Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Congressional Arts Caucus, which plays a vital role in keeping the vibrancy of the arts alive in communities across America.
Following the breakfast, arts advocates, led by their State Arts Advocacy Captains, fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet with their Representatives and Senators. During their visits, advocates encouraged their elected officials to support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Education’s Arts in Education programs.
Advocates also visited over 75 Senate offices and encouraged their Senators to form a new Senate Arts Caucus, similar to the Congressional Arts Caucus in the House, which would take the lead in advancing arts legislation and funding in the Senate. The majority of Senators were very enthusiastic, and we hope to be announcing the formation of a Senate Arts Caucus shortly.
If you were unable to join us for Arts on the Hill, we encourage you to send a message to your Member of Congress, urging them to support increased funding for the arts.