Earlier this week in the Trib, Chris Jones pointed out the “stunning political ineptitude” of the arts community in this Country. Harsh. But true? We have national organizations advocating for the arts, including Americans for the Arts and TCG whose websites we direct you to regularly in the broadcast. In Illinois, the Arts Alliance advocates for us. But is it enough? What do we need to do to raise the level of support for the arts funded by tax dollars?
Both of our Illinois senators voted against the Coburn amendment to the Economic Stimulus Bill. While the amendment was included in the Senate package anyway, I am grateful to them and gratified by their support. Whatever other political reasons there might be, our senators supported the arts and I would like to think it is because so many of us wrote to them. Please write and thank them.
For now, we can all do the following: please, no matter how small you are, please make sure your elected representatives know you are there and know what kind of impact you make on your neighborhood and on the cultural fabric of Chicago. Make sure your board, your donors, your ensembles and all of your constituents all advocate for you by telling their elected representatives what you mean to them and why they support you.
Making sure your alderman and your state legislators and your federal legislators all know who you are and what you do and why you are important goes a long way towards advocating not just for yourselves but for the field as a whole.