What You Can Do Right Now

The last few weeks, we at Arts for LA have been working hard to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening locally, statewide, and nationally as the fast and furious policies and recommendations come at us especially in the wake of the new Presidential administration.  

Here are some events and activities you can participate in right now to stay active, informed, and ready to address the pressing issues we are facing.

In the coming weeks when there is specific local action to be taken, we will send out an email blast with the campaign information and how to participate. To receive these action alerts, please sign up here and if possible, provide the address where you are registered to vote.


Elections – Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

There are many local elections for city council, mayor, and school board coming up in the next few weeks. This is a great opportunity to reach out to your local candidates to complete the Spring 2017 Arts & Culture Candidate Survey if they have not done so already.


Burbank City Council and Burbank Unified School District


33 elections, including:
Los Angeles City Council (8 seats), Mayor, and LAUSD (3 seats)


Glendale and Glendale Unified School District
Inglewood and Inglewood Unified School District




Arcadia Unified School District
Compton Mayor and City Council

A full list of upcoming 2017 elections can be found here

ArtsDayLA – Friday, April 7, Los Angeles City Hall

During ArtsWeek 2017, Arts for LA will be organizing delegate visits with LA City Councilmembers. To serve as a delegate, a person must agree to attend a 3 hour evening training prior to ArtsDay LA, as well as a four hour period (12 pm to 4 pm) on Friday, April 7. A person may nominate themselves.  Submit your nomination online by Friday, February 17. To determine your City Council district, visit here.

Consider Running for Office or Public Service as a Commissioner

If you've ever considered public service, there are resources to help guide you. NationBuilder offers a free 2 hour course, "How To Run For Office." In addition, you can identify potential seats to run for here: https://www.runforoffice.org.

You’ve heard of the Police Commission and the Fire Commission, but as Liberty Hill‘s researchers discovered when planning their "Train to be a Commissioner" course at the Wally Marks Leadership Institute, not even the wonkiest policy wonks can name all of Los Angeles's 52 boards and commissions, never mind the many dozens of County and State boards and commissions. Find out more

Setting a Policy Agenda

Arts for LA is committed to the following policy areas – the Arts, specifically advocating for equity and access for all people in LA; Arts Education for all students; a strong Creative Economy with opportunities for everyone; Civic Engagement through our ArtsVote work; and Social Justice including human rights, freedom of expression, immigrant rights, affordable housing.

This spring, Arts for LA will convene the community to identify policy goals in each of these areas. If you are interested in being a part of this process, send us an email at info@artsforla.org.

Advocacy Guidelines for Nonprofits 

Many nonprofits believe that they cannot participate in advocacy without risking the loss of their 501c3 status. But this is not true. Arts for LA and organizations like Alliance for Justice (AFJ) work to educate nonprofits on the differences between advocacy and lobbying and how they can safely exercise their right to advocate on issues of concern. The California Association of Nonprofits also lists Advocacy Guidelines. From AFJ's Bolder Advocacy website:

Influencing officials in the executive branch of federal, state or local government is a powerful tool. Executive or Administrative Advocacy can take several forms, including:

  • Commenting on regulations;
  • Requesting enforcement of existing laws;
  • Advocating for or against executive orders; and
  • Trying to influence administrative decisions on policy and program implementation.

Executive or Administrative Advocacy can be directed at administrative agencies (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency), executive officials (e.g., Governor, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, County Executive), and special purpose boards (e.g., housing authority, school board, park and planning board).

Under federal tax law, nonprofits and foundations can do as much advocacy on regulations and other administrative actions as they’d like. As long as the purpose of these communications is not to influence legislation, the activity is not considered lobbying.

The Role of Nonprofits in Elections 

A 20 minute presentation by Shyaam Subramanian, Southern California Counsel, Alliance for Justice

November 3, 2016 / LA Convergence 2016

Ongoing Activism

Join a group of like minded people who are meeting across LA to develop creative responses to our most pressing issues, such as Task Force Artivist Collective.  Let us know of other community gatherings at info@artsforla.org.


Budget Briefing

The California Association of Nonprofits is hosting a presentation by the California Budget and Policy Center’s (CBPC) Executive Director Chris Hoene. He will provide a high-level analysis of the Governor's 2017-18 proposed Budget — especially in light of threats to the ACA and safety net programs -- and outline the policy choices and outcomes that are likely to emerge in this year's budget deliberations.

WHEN: Wednesday March 1 • 10 AM-11 AM

Free for everyone. Register here https://calnp.memberclicks.net/california-policy-forum-2017-budget#/

Legislation Tracking

Arts for LA is developing and tracking two state bills: 

  • Enforcing the education code so that schools deliver arts to all students (as part of the California Alliance for Arts Education); and
  • Safe and affordable housing for artists (led by Assemblymember Bloom)


Join Sofia in DC – March 20-21

Arts for LA's executive director Sofia Klatzker has the honor of leading the California Delegation with Brad Erickson, and we are arranging delegate visits with our CA representatives now. If you are able to get to DC, these meetings are a powerful way to connect and advocate for what we hold most dear. We will also be developing delegate briefing materials and basic training on how to be a delegate for first timers. We will be specifically advocating for protecting and sustaining the NEA, defending the charitable tax code, ensuring arts education for all students, and protecting immigrant and refugee rights.

Register here: http://www.americansforthearts.org/events/arts-advocacy-day  

Call Your Representatives and Tell Them to Protect and Sustain the NEA

While the official Presidential budget will not be submitted for another month or two (we anticipate April), think tanks are making recommendations to the administration, and we know that the elimination of the NEA has resurfaced. While budgets are being developed, this is the time to call your representatives and have them commit to protecting and sustaining the NEA.

When Sofia was in DC two weeks ago, the phones were ringing off the hook. It was powerful to see the level of engagement across the US, and it is working.  Find your House representatives here.

National Arts Mobilization Center – Americans for the Arts

Launched last week, Americans for the Arts has released two statements regarding federal funding and the arts, as well as statements on Immigration and Refugee Ban, and Arts Education in the time of new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.


For excellent talking points from a local voice, we also recommend listening to the interview addressing this issue by Laura Zucker of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


Tax Reform and the Arts

While the exact schedule is still speculative, we expect the House Ways and Means Committee to markup a bill as early as March—with a quick progression of said legislation through both Houses of Congress to follow. We recommend including this issue in your talking points with your Representatives. Learn more about the issue here: