I’ve been hearing lots of ideas and theories lately, well, I hear lots of ideas and theories all the time. One interesting thing I’ve come across in advocacy work recently has been the idea of the arts partnering up with other causes that have the same interests. I was at arts advocacy day this week and while visiting our members of Congress I saw at least five other groups doing the same thing. I couldn’t help but wonder if we all got together if we couldn’t accomplish more.
In Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts partnered with hunters, environmentalists and others to pass the Minnesota Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment to the Constitution. The Amendment states that a portion of the Minnesota sales tax will support these initiatives with a percentage going to clean water, wildlife habitat, arts and cultural resources and parks and trails. The Amendment will bring $7.5 billion to these areas over the next 25 years.
Hunters and artists probably aren’t the two groups you would think would have a natural affinity, but they came together and achieved this historic amendment. We are all hearing the drumbeat of collaborate, by which is meant – reduce your expenses by merging functions of your organizations, but I am starting to think there might be value in more partnerships that go outside of our field. I don’t think we look enough outside our own discipline for partnerships and inspiration, never mind outside the field, and I include my own organization in that criticism. We could be leading by example in terms of being bi-partisan and we could uncover new advocates for theatre in unexpected places.