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Arts and Culture Public Officials Breakfast 2015

strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland's arts and culture sector

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Advocacy: Our Obligation

“I know you can't live on hope alone; but without hope, life is not worth living. So you, and you and you: you got to give them hope; you got to give them hope.” - Harvey Milk

As nonprofits and artists, this idea may be overwhelming. Taking on more obligations as we work to serve our constituents through programs and services with limited resources is a challenge, to put it lightly. Advocacy is expensive and time-consuming, right? Especially as the federal government proposes policies that restrict the voices of nonprofits and the people we serve…but isn’t silence a disservice to those same amazing people who count on us? One answer to these questions might be that it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, and there are resources to help you join the public sector conversation. 

How Policy Happens

Slide from Kelly Barsdate's presentation, referencing John Kingdon's Policy Agendas and Alternatives

Back in the fall, Tom Schorgl wrote about issues on the Cleveland and Cuyahoga County ballots and how they are directly related to a sustained arts and culture sector. Following that post, Megan Van Voorhis gave us five ways that we could take action to support these initiatives. Now with some months between now and next November’s elections, we continue to see articles in publications like Crain’s Cleveland Business and Cleveland.com that reinforce arts and culture’s presence in the public sector realm. As part of our strategic plan, CPAC will be providing the research and tools to assist you in getting active. It is up to us to get our voices heard as individuals and as representatives of our creative economy. As Kelly Barsdate, Chief Program and Planning Officer for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) noted in her presentation at the Arts and Culture Roundtable last year,“Nonprofits not only have the ability to advocate, but they have the obligation to do so.

How Policy Really Happens

Slide from Kelly Barsdate's presentation, referencing John Kingdon's Policy Agendas and Alternatives

Today, we announce a series of advocacy training sessions for arts and culture that will help plan, prepare for and participate in advocacy efforts. This week we released our 2012-13 Annual Report, which highlights the groundwork that was laid for these efforts in the past year. In the next few weeks, we will release new research that highlights yet another creative intersection in Cleveland that rivals few others across the country. We continue to offer Arts and Culture Roundtables designed to connect you with your peer innovators in arts and culture and hear new ideas from outside the sector. We encourage you to take advantage of other groups like NonprofitVOTE and others, who are dedicated to making sure nonprofits have the tools we need to advocate at whatever level we can. It is up to us nonprofit professionals, artists, board members and community members to take the knowledge and passion that is bubbling up all around us, and organize to help greater Cleveland thrive through a strong, unified and connected arts and culture sector.

Categories: advocacy, capacity building, civic, cross-sector, issues, public policy, resources, voting

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