Unpacking the Advocacy Suitcase

Last month I gave you a heads-up that advocacy season had officially begun. Within a day of that writing came news of a proposal to cut the National Endowment for the Arts. Since that time, more cuts have been proposed for arts in education through the Department of Education. At the state level, Governor Brown’s budget includes deep cuts in education and social services and calls for an extension of the tax increases that were passed a few years ago. To paint the picture of what will happen to public education if the tax extensions fail to pass (or get on the ballot), school districts have adopted “doomsday budgets.” Meanwhile, municipalities are vigorously advocating to “mend, not end” Community Redevelopment Agencies, many of which support public and community art as part of their project areas.

In this climate, it’s no surprise that Arts for LA’s overarching objective for the next two years is to maintain existing cultural infrastructure. We are pleased to release its 2011-13 Policy Framework, which outlines three core issues: Arts Education, Cultural Economy and Civic Engagement, as well as the goals, strategies and success indicators to protect the policies, funding streams and programs that support our arts ecology.

We know that as the Public Sector (government, local, state & Federal) continues its economic recovery efforts, arts programs, as well as every other social service, will be impacted. In partnership with our-- our members and subscribers -- our collective goal is to maintain these vital resources and prepare the arts sector for growth.

My job is to make advocacy (the issues we care about) and taking action on those issues easy to digest and to participate in. It may feel like we are being impacted on many different levels, and in a sense we are. In an effort to unpack the levels and outline current campaigns, check out the snapshot grid below, take action and mobilize your networks.


LA County School Districts



The 2011-12 state budget proposes deep cuts in state service ($12.5 billion), a shift in some state programs to local control and an extension of the recently enacted tax increases to generate $12 billion in revenues. It also calls for an extension on tax increases that are set to expire at the end of FY 2011. Read more…


Support the statewide effort to get the Brown tax extensions on the ballot.




Call your state assemblymember and senator and urge them to let the voters decide by putting the tax extension on the June ballot.




AFLA Members; PTA





PTA Campaign

Representative Lookup


Local School Board & City Council

Communicating the public value of arts and arts education through written policy statements provides an opportunity to develop strong relationships with local elected officials. Read More…


Get arts and arts education policy statements from candidates running for local office. Read the Arts for LA Candidate Surveys.  Share with your network. Burbank Arts for All Foundation; Advocacy Teams Candidate Surveys
Measure L - Libraries

Los Angeles Public Libraries are a vital part of the city’s cultural infrastructure, ensuring that access to literary, computer, and media resources is available for everyone. Read more…


Inform AFLA members and subscribers of endorsement and advocate for its passage through online sources. Vote yes for Measure L on March 8th. Mayor Villaraigosa, LA City Council; Library Foundation

Measure L Site

Find your Polling Place

NEA The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is targeted for a $43 million cut in the legislation. Read more… Maintain funding for the NEA. Send Senator Boxer a message urging her to restore funding to the National Endowment for the Arts.  Encourage your network to do the same. Americans for the Arts Americans for the Arts' Campaign
Dept. of Education

Among the programs terminated in this legislation is $40 million Arts in Education program (AIE) through the U.S. Department of Education which supports arts education grants and funds, including LA County, VSA and the Kennedy Center arts education program. Read more…


Keep Arts Ed. Funded. Restore funding for Arts in Education in the full FY 2011-13 appropriations bill. Send Senator Boxer a message urging her to continuing working to restore arts in education through the Department of Ed. Americans for the Arts Americans for the Arts' Arts Ed Funding Action

Advocacy is a verb: a strategic and collaborative movement forward. Arts for LA is a conduit that increases the momentum of our regional collaboration. Hop on board.


Taking Action

Thank you, Danielle, for this clearly articulated action plan.  I intend, and have already started, to take action on each and every item and will encourage my colleagues and friends to do so as well.  In my limited foray into the advocacy world, I have found that elected officials are actually very responsive to the voice of the individual and interested voter. 

Thank you for Taking Action

It's people like you who are making a huge difference in maintaining our existing cultural infrastructure.  Policy makers have so many special interests pulling their focus, we who value arts and cullture have got to make sure we are part of the cacphony of voices. 

Clarity amidst bad news

Thanks for this chart. With so much happening on many levels for arts and arts education funding - it's helpful to break out each issue. The Alliance will point to this! 

Share Alke!

Thanks so much for the feedback and the willingness to share this info with your networks.  The more we can make advocacy easy and digestable, the more our folks will take action.. that's my thinking anyway.