Arts Advocacy in the Time of COVID

If public funding for the arts is important to you, now is the time to make your voice heard! Government representatives rely on input from their constituents when making decisions about policy and annual budgets. YOU are an important part of the process, so be sure speak up on behalf of the arts to your city, state, and federal representatives.

Why now?

Independent arts and culture organizations in Lawrence currently employ around 80 people full time and 200 on a ‘gig’ basis. Hundreds of volunteers find outlets for their passions and creativity within our walls. Thousands of students stretch imaginations.  Hundreds of thousands of patrons and visitors view exhibits, take classes, create, and attend shows. 

COVID-19 has damaged the fabric of our creative economies. Our operations are reliant on income earned through classes, events, and performances. We exist to bring people together. Right now, that is impossible. Going forward, the need for continued social distancing and mandated smaller group gatherings will result in cancellations of many activities and much reduced revenue streams for the foreseeable future, possibly for years. 

Public and private support will be essential to the enormous task of bringing our community back together – both economically and socially. For centuries, it has been artists who give voice to our common experiences, and cultural institutions that have preserved our sense of common identity. They have kept our stories alive.

Now is the time to tell your story and communicate to the world how the arts are important to you as an individual and your community at large.

Need a hand getting started? We put together a few resources to help you on your way…

  • Contact your Commissioners at the City of Lawrence to voice your support of the arts. Try to attend meetings and public information sessions whenever possible – either in person or virtually.
  • Call, write, or email your state representatives and communicate your passion for arts funding.  Click here for contact information for state legislators  and visit the Americans for the Arts Action Center for national arts advocacy campaigns specific to COVID-19.
  • Be active in local media outlets. Share letters-to-the-editor, arts and culture news, and voice your support in online comments and on social media. Click here to submit to the Lawrence Journal-World.
  • Volunteer for your community arts organizations and show up for gallery openings, performances, classes, and events either in person or virtually as you are able to when they return.
  • When you see something you like, share it! Whether it’s on social media, a website, or in casual conversations, your words of support are so important.

And remember, arts advocacy is an ongoing (and rewarding) grassroots process. Communities with vocal arts support see benefits in health and well-being, academic performance, economies, tourism, innovation, and social impact. Share your story often and from the heart!