Gearing up... Preparing for the Unknown
The other night I had the opportunity to participate in a convening in the 2010 Bravo Forum. A program of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, the Forum's theme was Empowering Educators as Advocates for Arts Education.
A room of 60 Bravo nominees assembled to learn what they can do to better advocate for the arts in their school, district and community. This dedicated and talented pool of teachers, parents, and school administrators discussed effective and innovative approaches to advocacy from the legislative, community as well as district perspective. But it all began with the personal story.
Connecting with our personal narratives provided a common ground for each of us, regardless of the particular role we play in moving the arts forward. This set the tone for an inspired conversation around critical issues and possible strategies to overcome obstacles.
Reflecting on the forum, I am reminded once again by the power of the personal narrative. The act of listening and sharing creates an environment of mutual respect and empathy. The art of storytelling is a critical tool in advocating for the arts and arts education.
From here, we break down the opposition and align ourselves with decision makers. From here, we can begin to develop solutions to the challenges we face at the local, state and federal level.
As we gear up for what is sure to be an extremely busy advocacy season, remember how the arts changed your life and share that story far and wide. The more we tell the story, the more it will become part of our collective value. All of us need to not only tell our story, but provide the opportunity for others to share theirs as well.
This final 2010 edition of the Arts for LA monthly e-blast includes an update on our past success and a look toward what our collective advocacy focus will be in the coming months. From participating in a candidate survey, to joining an advocacy team, to becoming a member, to attending one of our upcoming member meetings, to taking action when prompted, there are many ways to advocate for the arts and arts education.
They say effective leadership is not how we lead, but how we follow... how we show by example and how we create opportunities for others to engage in our vision. As you plan your opening night receptions, fundraisers, and special events, remember to invite those who may needed to connect with their story in order to value yours.