Thursday, April 22, 2010

press releaseContact:
press@artsusa.org
202-371-2830

Washington, DC — April 22, 2010 — A week after the largest Arts Advocacy Day in years, arts advocates from across the nation are looking to Congress to take the next step in supporting strong public policies for the arts and arts education. On April 13, more than 550 arts supporters visited more than 250 Congressional offices during Arts Advocacy Day 2010. These meetings are catalysts in securing more funding for the country’s arts groups, arts workers, and creative industries.

Arts Advocacy Thrives on the Web

To keep arts supporters engaged with their public officials year-round, the Americans for the Arts Action Fund re-launched its website at www.artsactionfund.org on Arts Advocacy Day. This new interactive website is designed to inform people who value the arts about the inspiring stories happening in their communities, as well as the major arts issues being discussed in Congress. The Arts Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization and advocacy arm of Americans for the Arts.

April 13 marked the inaugural Tweet Arts Day, an international grassroots effort to bring visibility to the arts and Arts Advocacy Day on Twitter. Organized by students at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the hash tag #arts reached the number five spot on Twitter’s worldwide trending topic list the morning of Arts Advocacy Day. Americans for the Arts Artists Committee members Yoko Ono, John Legend, and Josh Groban also tweeted in support of the arts.

Arts Advocacy Day was also the official start of the “Why Arts Matter” Video Contest in honor of the 50th anniversary of Americans for the Arts. Now through June 30, Americans for the Arts is accepting short online videos that celebrate the arts all around us. Americans for the Arts wants to hear from people across the country about the arts in their lives and why the arts matter to them. Public voting for the contest starts in July and the winners will be announced in October.

Arts Advocacy Day Highlights

In a meeting with arts delegates from Maryland on Arts Advocacy Day, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) accepted the position of co-chair for the Senate Cultural Caucus. The 37-member Senate Cultural Caucus brings focus to the arts and humanities and the positive impact they have on our daily lives. The caucus specifically helps to highlight the work done in all 50 states by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Sen. Mikulski will lead the caucus along side current co-chair, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).

Another highlight of Arts Advocacy Day was the “Arts Build Communities” hearing hosted by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior. Americans for the Arts witnesses at the hearing asked Congress to support a budget of $180 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the FY 2011 Interior Appropriations bill.

Witnesses included:

At the Congressional Arts Kick Off prior to the hearing, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) received the 2010 Congressional Arts Leadership Award from Americans for the Arts and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“It is a true honor to be recognized among the ranks of these leaders with the Congressional Arts Leadership Award. Thank you for your support and for your ongoing work to bring the voices of America's artists to the chambers of Capitol Hill,” said Speaker Pelosi to the arts advocates in attendance upon receiving the award.

“Congress can make a big difference for the arts with just a modest funding increase. Over the past 45 years, its support of the NEA has been essential in leveraging money in creating a network that now includes more than 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations across the country,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “At the state and local level, we have seen the great matching power of the NEA create almost $300 million worth of annual state appropriations. And at the local level, a 2-1 match for NEA funds provides almost a billion dollars of local government support for the arts.”
 

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Visit us online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.
 

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