Thank You, Arts and Culture Advocates!
Thanks to all of you, it’s been a good week for Arts Advocacy at the State Capitol. The best news is that HB2265, the bill to reauthorize the Arizona Commission on the Arts for another 10 years, passed unanimously out of the House Commerce Committee, on Wednesday February 8th. This is another significant step in the legislative process we believe will result the bill being passed and sent to the Governor for her signature.
After a number of discussions with the bill’s bipartisan legislative sponsors, an amendment was attached to the bill and approved that restates Federal and Arizona laws which have informed the Arts Commission’s policies and practices for the past two decades, regarding the Arts Commission’s commitment to respecting the American flag and other sacred objects and its responsibility to promote practices that engage, involve and represent the standards of Arizona’s deeply diverse communities.
We will keep you posted on the next steps in the legislative process, but we’ve just cleared another important hurdle in reauthorization.
The committee hearing followed a great day Tuesday when 150 of you gathered at the State Capitol for our annual Arts Congress. We had one-on-one meetings in the offices of more than half of our 90 legislators, as well as several informal get-togethers over box lunches in our tent. We finished off the day by dividing ourselves into two groups, one of which went to the House Gallery and the other to the Senate Galley, where representatives and senators introduced us. It was encouraging to hear their glowing words about the importance of the arts to our local communities and our schools.
Finally, the power of Arts Congress was amplified even more by our first “Virtual Arts Congress.” For arts advocates who couldn’t travel to downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, we set up a way for advocates to participate from home or their offices. Nearly 200 messages were delivered via e-mail or fax to their individual legislators reinforcing the messages we were discussing in person at the Capitol. Even better, our initial invitation delivered via Capwiz and Facebook was picked up by a number of our member organizations and several small publications and rebroadcast to an even wider audience. That’s the way social media is supposed to work!
Weeks like these prove the value of year-round arts advocacy, as well as the power of a focused effort when important issues arise. Thanks for being there, and let’s keep fighting for the arts together.
And – if any of you have pictures from Arts Congress that you’ve not given to us. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.