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download - westaf - The Western States Arts Federation

download - westaf - The Western States Arts Federation

from the legislature

from the legislature when Ohio Citizens for the Arts is lobbying on behalf ofthe state agency keeps the peace. “We have big, powerful artsorganizations in Ohio, and they understand what happens when majororganizations get line-item grants. It creates dissent,” states Franano.Betty Plumb, Executive Director for South Carolina Arts Alliance, notes thather state is too small to be fractured by individual organizations trying toget funds independently. According to Plumb, “A written policy keepsdown confusion.”• Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, notes,“It’s important to sort out our internal disputes before approaching thelegislature. We make it clear that it is in the major organizations’ interest toexhibit solidarity with regional councils and small organizations. And theregional councils, which represent communities all over the state, cannotafford to make a grassroots push [for funding] without the support of largeurban arts institutions.” The Minnesota legislature budgets in a two-yearcycle. If there are tensions between large and small, urban and rural artsorganizations, Smith says, “we must clarify that the state appropriation [tothe state arts board] benefits all of them, regardless of size or location. Welobby the state arts board to make sure that everyone is served fairly.”Maintaining and expanding membership is important to the health of any artsadvocacy organization. Recruiting members is only part of the work; keeping theminvolved during “good times” is also a struggle. In general, arts advocacyorganizations note that it is important to celebrate its accomplishments, reinforcing tomembers that what it does has value. To that end, advocacy groups must keepmembers informed, educated, and involved without over-burdening them. Thefollowing comments illustrate how some arts advocacy organizations build andsustain member interest.• The Illinois Arts Alliance will soon embark on a major membership drive.Some 680 cultural organizations statewide receive funding from the statearts council, but only 320 are members of the Alliance. To reach a wideraudience, the Alliance has purchased a list of 69,500 names collected from80 cultural institutions, which will be incorporated into its existing databaseto identify potential members. “Our member profile will look very differentnext year,” says Volkanas.• ArtServe Michigan, which has a substantial budget and paid staff, recentlyhired a full-time membership/development director to build a largermembership base.• According to Janet Brown, Executive Director of South Dakotans, “anadvocacy organization must also be a service organization. We cannotask people to do something and not give back. We provide opportunitiessuch as in-state regional conferences for technical training. I do that so5© 2000, the Western States Arts Federation

that when the organization needs members to do something, they step upto the plate.”• Success breeds interest. Two years ago the Washington State ArtsAlliance obtained an increase in funding for the state arts commission.Gretchen Johnston states, “We were able to go back to our members andeveryone on the mailing list and show them results. It’s a big thing.”Originally formed by a few, mostly larger organizations, the Alliance has inrecent years engaged an increasing number and variety of organizations.The budget increase benefited organizations across the spectrum,“showing all organizations, regardless of size or location, that we areworking to support them,” says Johnston• Although the Hawaii Consortium for the Arts is new and small, it worked tostabilize multi-year funding cuts to the state arts commission andcooperated with the agency to repel successfully an attack on the state’sPercent for Art program in the latest legislative session. “Just keeping ourmembers informed about legislative issues was greatly valued by ourconstituents. It meant a lot to the arts community,” says Heidi Kubo,Executive Director.• The South Carolina Arts Alliance was instrumental in the state legislature’sformation of an Arts Caucus in 2000, chaired by the majority and minorityleaders of both House and Senate; most of the lawmakers have signed on.• Arizonans for Cultural Development pushed for legislative authorization ofArt Share, a statewide arts endowment to which lawmakers committed $2million a year for ten years, to be matched by private contributions. “Whatmakes it unique, and a model for others, was convincing the legislators toallow private contributions to any arts organization endowment in the stateto count toward the matching requirement,” said Becky Gaspar, ExecutiveDirector. “We are seen as nurturing the cultural landscape.”• The Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon worked together with theNorthwest Business for Culture and the Arts (NWBCA) to convince thegovernor and legislature to fund a Cultural Planning Task Force, whichoriginated from a statewide cultural summit convened by NWBCA.FundingFinancing advocacy efforts is a major issue confronting advocacy organizations.Membership dues account for a significant portion of most organization budgets andare generally based on a tier system for individuals (artists and patrons) and onoperating-budget size for organizations.• In Hawaii, organization dues range from $50/year for budgets of less than$100,000 to $200/year for budgets of $1 million-plus.6© 2000, the Western States Arts Federation

download - The Western States Arts Federation
download - The Western States Arts Federation
download - westaf - The Western States Arts Federation
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