"And the beat goes on.........................."
The Trump Administration releases its FY 17 / 18 Budget this week. The reported cuts are so draconian, including, very likely, elimination of the National Endowments of the Arts and of the Humanities, that the budget is likely DOA in Congress. Now the lobbying to protect funding for hundreds of programs and projects, valued by a wide variety of interests, including the arts, will start in earnest.
Continued effort by the sector to make the case for the value of the NEA and the Arts will be essential to insure that the agency continues to exist and that funding isn't decimated.
Last Thursday was apparently International Museum Day and Arts Museum Day, and a number of museums included postcard writing stations on site - encouraging the public to fill out postcards in support of the continued funding of the NEA to be sent to people's elected officials. This is a very simple idea that every arts organization in the country ought to include at their performances, exhibitions and other programs, starting now.
The postcards can include a pre-printed message of support citing the value of the individual sponsoring organization to the local community or a general message of support for the many contributions the arts make locally, closing with support for the NEA. Every such postcard ought to include the message:
I am a registered voter in your district, and the continued support for the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities is critically important to our community and to me personally.
Followed by whatever message the organization or the individual wants to include, and closed with a Signature, date, address, zip code, and phone number. The writer may also request a response from the official.
While you can make available to those willing to fill out a card easy ways to determine who their Congressperson and / or Senator is, and their local and Washington D. C. office addresses, that should be done at the point where the cards are being filled out. OR in the alternative, your organization should simply collect completed and signed cards, and have staff or volunteers complete the addressing. You can pay postage or ask the people filling out the cards to do so. You should do the mailing. If you leave it to the public to take the card with them and do it all themselves, a huge percentage of the card will never get sent. The easier you make it for people to help, the more cards you are likely to collect. And thus the greater the impact such an effort will have.
This represents a minimal investment of cash and time to defend the arts. If every arts organization would do this over the next few months, we could generate hundreds of thousands (and maybe a million or more) messages.
Please consider such a project, or something similar.
Thanks to Hyperallergic for the story and to the museums for generating the idea.
Have a good week.