Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Be an arts advocate!

As an arts lover, you’ve probably heard that you need to speak up for the importance of the arts. But how? What do you say?

At the Oklahoma Arts Conference, guest Mary Kennedy McCabe, Executive Director of Mid-America Arts Alliance, spoke about the importance of communicating the powerful impact the arts can have on your community. Your elected officials are there to represent YOU, but they can’t do that if they don’t hear your voice.

Here are a few key points to focus on when contacting your representatives:

1.  Economic Impact of the Arts
For example, did you know that for every $1 in public funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council generates $8 in economic impact? That’s a good investment. (Source: 2008 economic impact study of arts and culture organizations in Oklahoma.)
2. Education Through The Arts
Studies consistently demonstrate the arts' impact on education and overall student achievement. Students with four years of arts education in high school score significantly higher on college entrance exams than students with little or no arts education. Arts education has been shown to increase performance in non-arts subjects like math and science. Other proven benefits include an increase in school attendance and civic engagement, and a decrease in anti-social behaviors.
3. Community Development
Communities that offer vibrant arts and cultural amenities are more likely to attract young professionals, retain young talent, appeal to businesses, and provide a setting where people want to live and raise families.

To be updated on Oklahoma arts advocacy alerts, sign up for the Oklahomans for the Arts mailing list. For updates on national issues, sign up for the Americans for the Arts Action Fund.

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