Don't miss your opportunity to make your voice heard at the State Capitol during Arts Congress on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

Join us for our annual advocacy day, Arts Congress, on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The event will be held on the Senate Lawn of the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington.

Registration begins at 7:30 am and program activities will run until 2pm.

Arts Congress is the one day each year that arts and culture advocates, patrons, educators, business people and voters gather to speak directly to Arizona legislators about the importance of support for arts and culture in our state.

Arizona Citizens for the Arts will provide you with training materials and talking points for your meetings with legislators. This is the one special day of the year when arts supporters come from around the state to be seen and heard by the Legislature. Do not miss it!

Prepare for Arts Congress 2017

Key Points

Prepare for Arts Congress 2017 by reading about our 2017 Public Affairs Strategy. Learn how we intend to tackle some major goals regarding arts and arts education at the Federal, State and Local level.

The past two years have proven to be extremely difficult for the arts, economically. One of the main perpetrators of this decline has been the lack of legislative support in voting to allocate funds to the Arizona Arts Commission, a state agency designed to grant arts organizations and programs throughout the state. 

In FY 16, $1M was cut from their budget, forcing the Commission to operate with the lowest granting budget in more than 30 years. Grants across the state were cut, on average, in half and many programs came to a halt due to the absence of funding. 

After working in a successful partnership to secure $1.5 million for the Arizona Commission on the Arts in the FY2017 state budget, Arizona Citizens for the Arts is supporting the Arts Commission’s agency request of $2 million for FY2018 as a reasonable increase in the resources that will allow the Commission to support the nonprofit arts sector in its service to Arizonans. To secure the $2 million, Arizona Citizens for the Arts is focusing especially on legislators whose districts get significant funding for arts organizations based in the district.

In the lists below, you can see which organizations have received grants in your district. Each legislator receives a list for the current fiscal year at Arts Congress.

Workshop Descriptions

Please note that registration opens at 7:30 AM this year to accommodate earlier legislative meetings & a workshop for first time attendees scheduled before meetings begin

Arts Congress 101
AKA Advocacy for First Time Attendees, this session will give first time attendees of Arts Congress an idea of what to expect. Davidwill walk through how to meet with your legislature and how to apply the advocacy skills you will learn in the rest of the workshops.  Presenter: David Martinez, Advocacy & Outreach Specialist at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance
Overview of Legislative Session

This session will give an overview of what we can expect to see in the Legislative session.  It will cover the key issues being discussed at the Capitol along with what topics may have major impacts on the State budget. 

Presenter: Todd Baughman, Policy Development Group

NEA Update

The National Endowment for the Arts provides about $1.5 million a year to Arizona arts organizations. Not only does it support the work of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, but through direct grants to Arizona organizations, large and small, it’s bought enriching and groundbreaking work to audiences all over our state. Recent media reports about whether the new Administration will include the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in its first budget, has raised serious concerns among arts supporters. We will share up-to-the-minute news about the status of the NEA budget, and MOST importantly, what arts advocates can do to insure the survival of this important federal agency. 

Presenter:Catherine “Rusty” Foley, Executive Director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Imagine Arizona’s Brightest Future

Presented by the Arizona Commission on the Arts. In this presentation you will learn about some of the ways the Arizona Commission on the Arts serves communities throughout the state and works to unleash the boundless creative potential of Arizona’s residents in realizing Arizona’s brightest future.

Presenters: Steve Wilcox, Communications Director; Alex Nelson, Senior Director of Grants and Programs; Gabriela Muñoz, Artist Programs Manager

Arts Education State Initiatives

Join the team for an update on the collaborative efforts of Arizona Citizens for the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Arizona Department of Education to promote more arts education in K-12 schools. Hear case studies from the Strengthening Schools Through Art Partnerships grant program, and an update on the reconstruction of the statewide A-F school report card and what you can do to get the arts included in the rating for each school. Learn about new initiatives and find out what your organization can do to help promote more arts education in our schools.  

Presenters: Alex Nelson, Senior Director of Grants and Programs at the Arizona Commission on the Arts; Catherine “Rusty” Foley, Executive Director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Creative Economies

Many people think that the arts are luxuries we can do without, and not necessities that drive a social and economic progress.  In fact, the arts and other creative disciplines provide an engine that can both stabilize impoverished communities and advance growth across the city and state from which we all benefit.  This workshop will explore the economic impact of creativity-driven organizations—arts and culture organizations and institutions, arts education programs, and individual artists, innovators, and entrepreneurs.  We’ll cover how the economic contributions of these creators is measured, and identify the extensive reach of these individuals and organizations through many sectors of the economy in Arizona and beyond.

Presenter: Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Storytelling in Advocacy

Research shows that people are motivated by emotional, story-based appeals much more than by rational data. Join us for an interactive introduction to the storytelling basics that will help you shape powerful stories for arts advocacy. Participants will: learn basics of story structure and tools; consider several foundational stories to add to their toolbox; leave with the frame work and additional resources to put their storytelling into practice to help bring their organizations alive to legislators, board members, and potential funders.

Presenter: Carly Davis, Arts Professional,  Advocate and Community Volunteer 

All workshops are 30 min

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Arts Congress can seem overwhelming, especially if you've never engaged in... dare we say it? ADVOCACY. We work to make the day as seamless and comfortable as possible. Advocates just like you gather on the Senate lawn for coffee and registration on the morning of Arts Congress and meet with their district team members and leader to discuss the schedule and talking points for the day.

We know that meeting with legislators can be a daunting task, so we've got all your questions about Arts Congress answered in this FAQ.  This is your opportunity to talk to your legislator about how important arts and culture is to you and your community and make a difference.