Taking Your Seat at the Table

May 14, 2012

If you missed Arts Day in Trenton on Thursday, you missed a great opportunity to get inspired and prepared to advocate the arts in ways you may not have thought about before. Not only did ArtPride NJ honor two exceptional New Jersey legislators for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the state’s non-profit arts industry, but we all learned that being citizen activists on the local level isn’t as intimidating as it appears.

Senator Tom Kean, Jr. And Assemblyman Matthew Milam accepted ArtPride’s 2012 Distinguished Arts Advocate Awards. Senator Kean noted, “I support the arts in New Jersey because they enrich every aspect of our communities: educationally, economically, and culturally.” Assemblyman Milam spoke about how much he learned about the arts by visiting a host of cultural venues throughout the state as Chairman of the Assembly Tourism and Arts Committee.

The Citizens Campaign offered Arts Day attendees simple ways to become more civically engaged on the local level, including tips to get appointed to local commissions, acting as a citizen legislator who can jump start action by proposing resolutions and ordinances, and reporting back to the community about that action or lack of action as a citizen journalist.

Finally, Janet Brown, Executive Director of Grantmakers in the Arts, inspired nearly 200 Arts Day attendees with her own personal insight into the values of government and how the arts need to address them—efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and equity with a simple direct and bold message to legislators and policy makers.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, noting how simple advocacy steps can help us reach our “big picture” goals, and realize change in measurable ways.

To stay informed about how YOU can assure the arts have a seat at the table, contact ArtPride New Jersey and become an active arts advocate today!

Related reading:

  1. N.J. student participation in art and music declines, even as programs become more common
  2. N.J. artists, advocates lobby for more arts “at the public policy table”
  3. The Arts and Civic Engagement
  4. “Why Should I Care About the Arts?”

Ann Marie Miller is the Executive Director of ArtPride, the premier arts advocacy organization in New Jersey, and a regular contributor to the Dodge blog