Six reasons why you should be an advocate

True, effective advocacy is a daily activity, and it’s most effective when it comes from the local level and from the heart.  Let your voice be heard! Here are six good reasons why YOU must speak up for all that the arts, arts education and creative economy create for Wisconsin’s people and communities:

  1. The 21st century world demands new ways of thinking and doing.   There’s been a fundamental shift in our economy and our world (i.e., it’s not going to go back to the way it was – this is the way it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.).  With great change comes great opportunity for the arts, and for all of us, locally and globally.  It’s a very exciting time, because if there ever was a time that we needed the arts, it’s now.  Creativity, innovation, imagination, and entrepreneurship – all qualities inherent to the arts – are what we need to move our economy, educational systems, and civic infrastructure forward.  The arts are important because creative expression is fundamental to the human condition. And the arts are important because creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship will move us, locally and globally, to grow the economy; create locally-based, sustainable jobs; educate our children for the 21st century world and workforce; enliven our communities large and small and bring diverse communities together; enhance and strengthen a community’s competitive edge.  Wisconsin should include the arts, arts education and creative economy in strategic economic, educational and civic plans.
  2. Don’t assume that leaders already know about and support the ways in which the arts are a force for their communities.   Even if they are supportive, they are faced with difficult budget and civic choices every minute of the day.   It’s critically important to build and sustain relationships on all levels.  You can and should provide ongoing information about your work, and about the public value of the arts, arts education and creative economy locally and globally.  Remember that budgets and viewpoints can be changed if enough people speak up and show that they care.  You are the most passionate, knowledgeable expert on the subject.  Who better to tell them than you?
  3. If you’ve received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board and/or other public agencies, or, if you haven’t received funding but you think that you, your work and/or your organization should be funded, then you need to make sure that state and federal candidates, representatives and decision-makers know that investment in the arts is a good investment for everyone, everywhere in Wisconsin.
  4. The number of people involved in a cause speaks volumes about value, and success is directly proportional to the numbers of persons involved.   The more people speaking up for the arts across the state, the more it will be understood that the arts are valued in and important to every community in Wisconsin.   If you don’t speak up for your cause, then others will speak up for their causes.  Those are the causes that will get all the attention and resources.  Then you’ll wonder why no one cares about or invests in your cause.
  5. Your involvement and leadership will help get others involved.  Your patrons, audiences, parents of your students, business community, educators, and the public at large will only be as committed as you are. Don’t expect others to do the work for you.   You cannot expect advocacy to happen by itself. You cannot expect others to be tenacious and committed if you are not tenacious and committed.
  6. None of us has the option to sit back and remain silent anymore (not that we ever did).  If you care at all about your community’s future and the future of our state and our country (which we all do), it is your duty, and in your best interest, to speak up for the arts in your community!

So speak up, loudly and frequently.  Arts Wisconsin, as the premier statewide organization speaking up and working for the arts, culture, creativity and innovation in Wisconsin and all of its communities, will keep you up to date on all developments in this very important election year, with education, information, events and actions to be an informed, effective advocate in your community.  Keep checking for news and information.  Thanks for your good work, and for speaking up and taking action!

Updated 12-21-15