Friday, April 15, 2011

Why I'm An Arts Advocate

NYU Advocates for Cultural Engagement at Arts Advocacy Day 2010 in Washington, DC. (I'm in the middle with the sign!)
I attended my first Arts Advocacy Day—the annual event where arts advocates from across the country descend upon Capitol Hill to tell legislators that we need the arts—last year. (I attended this year too—more on that later!) As we discussed advocacy strategies over of our leaders asked us to come up with stories from our lives that could effectively convey the power of the arts to our legislators. Embarrassingly, I had a difficult time coming up with a good story.

I’ve always been surrounded by art. I don’t have a “parents just don’t understand” sob story. I’m not an artist, but my mom is. My family is in the business of art education. At my fifth grade birthday party, my dad insisted that everyone watch a short film by Kurosawa before we could watch Clueless. Despite my near-constant immersion in the arts since childhood, it’s sometimes hard for me to describe why the arts are so important to me. I’m not an artist with an implacable drive to create. There was no defining moment, no one story, when I knew that this was what I wanted to do.

But when I think about it, it’s the sum total that makes me an arts advocate—all the art I have been exposed to, all the opportunities I’ve been so lucky to have. Even if I’m not an artist, all of my exposure to the arts made an impression on me enough to lead me where I am today, embarking on a career in the arts. I have been lucky to have all these opportunities, and I want everyone else to have those opportunities too—whether it’s part of their family or not. I can’t imagine who I’d be without the arts. And that is why I’m the Art Advocado. I'll be blogging here about arts education advocacy and policy to keep you updated and start some conversations about formal and informal advocacy strategies for These Difficult Economic Times, and beyond!

(P.S. This post from the Artistic Rebuttal Book Project perhaps says it more concisely than I did!)

1 comment:

  1. I am an art advocate in my own ways as well. I always encourage my friends and my little brother to be an artist. Having a creative mind is the key to be one. One thing that I always say to him, "Don't worry, Arts can be learned".

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