“And the beat goes on…………………”
Speak Up For the Arts:
The 2012 Election cycle will begin in January. Soon hopeful GOP Presidential candidates will set up shop in Iowa and New Hampshire and the media will begin with endless and relentless coverage, so called analysis, punditry and projections. The same thing will begin to happen off camera as it were for lesser races from Congress to City Halls all across the country. And all of that will filter down as the parties and special interest groups begin the process of gearing up for the defense and advancement of their own interests, pet causes and the like.
Frankly, we ought to be doing the exact same thing. In a more perfect world we would be setting up local and state committees and PACs and trying to identify arts friendly candidates to support, or even those from our own ranks that we could convince to run. We would be identifying specific legislation and policies we would hope to advance and / or defeat to protect our interests. We would begin to raise funds, do benefits, reach out to stakeholders to form alliances, and begin our media strategy to get the public on our side.
All of which takes sophistication, money, organization and commitment – none of which we have unfortunately. But we might just be able to focus on a single strategy that could help us. There are lots we could choose from. I have a suggestion: A national word of mouth and quasi media campaign (I say quasi because we can’t afford a real full blown media / advertising effort and there is probably too little time before 2012 to get an Ad Council or other pro bono effort launched) that urges people everywhere (parents of school kids, the PTA, everyone involved in the nonprofit arts and the for profit entertainment industry, artists both professional and amateur and any and everyone else we might convince to join us) to SPEAK UP FOR ART at every opportunity they get – to their local elected officials, to the media, to their colleagues at work, to people in groups to which they belong, to their neighbors – to anyone they can – and tell their stories of why and how the arts are valuable in people’s lives, to communities, to business and the economy, to education and civic life. Op Ed pieces in newspapers, a letter campaign, email petitions, viral videos on You Tube, public opinion surveys, release of new or even repackaged research and data. A two year grassroots campaign to enlist the help of all those people for whom the arts have meaning to SPEAK UP FOR ART – loudly, often and with conviction. It would be relatively easy to set up a web site, provide people with talking points, aggregate poignant stories and the like and promote it across America.
If we could get it to catch on, we might make it grow exponentially and by the time we got to November 2012 it might make it much easier for us to leverage what we had grown to political action on our own behalf with the goal of making the arts a bi-partisan “good” which everyone supported; if not sacrosanct, then at the least, embraced by so many that attacking us would not be as easy an option.
I would call this campaign SPEAK UP FOR ART 2012 – and here’s the logo