Arts Advocacy trip to Washington DC

Miami students and faculty are joined by colleagues from The Ohio State University and Ohio Citizens for the Arts for the 31st Annual Arts Advocacy Day
Miami students and faculty are joined by colleagues from The Ohio State University and Ohio Citizens for the Arts for the 31st Annual Arts Advocacy Day

CCA Faculty and Students participate in 31st Arts Advocacy Day

On March 13, 2018, students and faculty from the College of Creative Arts participated in the 31st Arts Advocacy Day in Washington DC. The annual event, hosted by Americans for the Arts, brought together more than 600 advocates from across the country in efforts to lobby Senators and Congressional Representatives in support of a variety of arts-based initiatives.

Miami student Caroline Bastian (Orange County, CA), a junior in Art History with a co-major in Arts Management was joined by two students from Arts Education, Perry Tatlow and Emma Laskowski, along with Dr. Stephanie Baer and Dr. Stephanie Danker, both faculty in Arts Education at Miami University. The trip was led by Willie Caldwell, newly appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Arts Management and Entrepreneurship in the College of Creative Arts.

arts advocacy group"It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many like-minded individuals who also believe in the power and importance of the arts in society." said Bastian, who helped plan and organize the trip.

Day one of the event included an advocacy boot camp which provided facts, figures, and insights into current arts-based legislation including increased funding and federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts. Day one also provided networking opportunities where the group met Donna Collins, Executive Director of the Ohio Council for the Arts, and Bill Bhrendt, Executive Director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts.

Later that evening, the group attended the 31st Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture series on Arts and Public Policy held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The series included a rousing performance by the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir and a panel discussion featuring Lonnie Bunch III, Founding Director, and Richard Parsons, Board Member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The event was moderated by the Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden. At this event, Willie Caldwell had the opportunity to meet Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Day two included visits to the congressional offices of Miami's Representative Warren Davidson, Representative Robert Latta, and Representative Michael Turner. During these visits, students met with Chief staff personnel and Senior Legislative Assistants to advocate for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The students shared personal stories about why the arts are important to the American cultural experience and to the economy. The arts and cultural sector generates more than $760 billion in economic activity and represents more than 4% of the Nation's gross domestic product. These figures are important for young artists who are questioning the value of pursuing an arts degree.

"Arts Advocacy Day not only opened my eyes to how arts advocacy works, but being in the same room as all the powerful men and women truly empowered me to continue to advocate for the arts as it is vital to bettering our country." said Laskowski.

The hope is that the trip becomes an annual event and grows to include students and faculty across the disciplines within the College of Creative Arts.