Advocacy ABC’s

Know the issues
Join the Alliance to receive advocacy alerts, and invitations to candidate forums and legislative updates. The Alliance works with partners at the local, state and federal level to understand the impact of policy and funding decisions on the arts and culture sector. We are fortunate to have the Florida Cultural Alliance — a nonprofit that monitors policy and funding proposals in the Florida Legislature and analyzes their impact for arts and culture.

Arts Education
Strong arts education ensures that we have future audiences, artists and creative citizens. Advocacy issues and actions have a different, specialized focus. Sarasota has several groups that advocate and support arts education at the local, state and national level. Learn more and add your voice.

Be armed with the facts
The heavy lifting has been done. There is research on almost every aspect of the arts — the economic impact, the community impact, tourist appeal, educational advantages. Research, economic analysis, books, articles … evidence of the advantages to living in a strong arts community.

An important new study by Americans for the Arts quantifies the economic prosperity of the arts in Sarasota County and in the Sarasota/Manatee Region.

Strength in numbers
Policymakers deal with hundreds of issues and competing positions. Many voices presenting a consistent, targeted, actionable message are required to be heard amid the din. It is important to engage with the Alliance and other organizations that monitor policy and budget actions, analyze their impact and recommend action. The Alliance is part of a network of partners at the local, state and federal level.

Learn the ropes
Understand how and when decisions are made. Advocacy is a year-round job. One email, phone call or impassioned letter from an unknown person delivered just before a crucial vote will likely have no impact. Getting to know the policy makers and letting them know you, your organization, and your work creates a context for communication and positions regarding policy.

Show up
Attend school board meetings, city and county commission meetings as an observer. These meetings are public; meeting times and locations are published. Sitting in on a few meetings will familiarize you with the players, the issues and the procedures. Visit your state and federal elected officials in their district office – prepare before you go. See checklist HERE.