The Time for Action is NOW

Posted by Ms. Lauren S. Hess, Feb 22, 2017

Six short weeks ago, the Americans for the Arts Arts Education Advisory Council met in Washington, DC to discuss trends in arts education, brainstorm how to be change agents in our communities, and assist with the planning of the Annual Convention arts education thread. I value this important time with my colleagues from across the country. We represent a cross section of rural to urban, various arts disciplines, and areas of expertise from creative youth development to STEAM to performing arts. The conversation is always rich and rewarding.

When we met in Washington, one week before Inauguration Day, bleachers lined the sidewalks, and patriotic bunting was abundant. There was a feeling of uncertainty in the air. In our meetings we speculated on how this new presidency might impact the world of arts and education. The threat to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts hadn’t been voiced yet. The furor over Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary was just beginning.

There was a sense of urgency in our conversation this year. What should we be doing in our communities to help be proactive? At the end of our three days together, we were committed to advocacy work as never before.

I am energized to do what I can to help spread the word about the Americans for the Arts Action Fund now that I am back home in Cincinnati. Membership in the Arts Action Fund is FREE. The goal is to grow to one million arts advocates to mobilize support for the arts and arts education.

Members receive action alerts when the time is right to reach out to legislators via email or phone calls. It is simple. Type in your zip code, and the appropriate legislator’s email address pops up. Suggested talking points are provided that you can use; using your personal story is even better. It takes very little time to add your voice in support of the issue at hand. 

I now carry Arts Action Fund membership cards with me at all times to share with others. Whenever I’m talking with groups of people, colleagues, board members, teachers in a workshop, I explain the importance of advocacy work and that every voice matters. In these times of uncertainty, it makes me feel better to make phone calls to Washington, write emails, and sign petitions. Doing something, being committed is so much better than sitting back and wallowing in despair.

The time is now. Stand up and make a difference in your community!