I joined several of our colleagues in other disciplines as a part of the Illinois Delegation at Arts Advocacy Day in Washington last week. We were capably led by Scarlett and Ra at Arts Alliance Illinois. It was a fun and enlightening couple of days, learning about lobbying techniques and issues and visiting with our elected officials. One of whom when told the budget for the NEA called the entire budget “budget dust,” meaning it is such a small amount of money she can’t believe people care about cutting it.
While I was there I thought of three things I wanted to put in the blog, put now I can only remember two of them. Kevin Spacey gave a lecture and the one thing that sticks with me is a story he told about Churchill who, when told that the budget for arts would have to be cut to fund the war effort during WWII said “then what are we fighting for?” I just loved that. The other thing is that after Kevin spoke, a guy from Oklahoma who is on the board of Americans for the Arts spoke briefly and at the end of his remarks he said “Don’t get hit.” Anybody have any idea what that might mean?
It felt really meaningful to be there and to be talking to people and educating people about issues that are important to artists and arts organizations. Alec Baldwin was there and Hill Harper and lots of other people, you should come next year, but in the meantime, you can check out www.artsusa.org and look at everything that went on.