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 8:30 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 can 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!

Introduction to Advocacy

What is Advocacy?

Better understand what advocacy is and how you can be an effective advocate with this short, introductory training from Americans for the Arts.

Then read up on some key points we plan to emphasize at Arts Congress 2016 as we meet with our legislators.

Keep checking back for updates on Arts Congress and Advocacy Resources. 

More questions? Check the FAQ to get the answers.

Key Points

Prepare for Arts Congress 2016 by reading about our 2016 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. 

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

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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.

Learn more about Arts Congress from the materials and information provided for Arts Congress 2016

Click here for your Arts Congress Map


2016 Workshop Schedule & Descriptions

We plan to bring some of these workshops back for 2017 and build on this to introduce some new topics as well.

All workshops last 30-45 minutes. 

Advocacy for First Time Attendees

This session will give first time attendees of Arts Congress an idea of what to expect. Jennifer will 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: Jennifer Burns, Former Representative in District 25

Jennifer holds a law degree from Univ. of Arizona, as well as a Master’s in Public Administration, and both a B.A .and B.S. from the U of A. Her current work is in advocacy, consulting, and policy development.

Overview of the 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

Todd joined PDG in 2007 and primarily serves as a lobbyist and strategist for PDG’s clients at the State level, including Arizona Citizens for the Arts. He carries a genuine passion for the political process and the people involved. In addition to being the lead lobbyist for several clients, Todd assists with virtually every one of the firm’s legislative efforts and coordinates the day-to-day legislative agenda for PDG’s clients. Additionally, he actively participates in non-legislative efforts, predominately involving public involvement and campaign initiatives

Arizona Commission on the Arts

Do Arizonans attend the arts? Are Arizona’s arts organizations truly undercapitalized? Join us for a data-driven analysis of Arizona’s non-profit arts organizations and report on how the agency's current research activities are changing the way we understand Arizona’s arts sector.

Presenter: Ben Watters, Grants and Operations Coordinator at the Arizona Commission on the Arts

Ben manages statewide grant programs for artists and non-profit organizations. His research has contributed to reports for the governor, used in advocacy efforts at Arizona Arts Congress, and presented to the Arts Commission board and other state decision-makers.

Arts Education

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.   Learn about the program initiatives and find out what your organization can do to support Title 1, influence school board elections, and engage your constituencies on behalf of arts education.

Presenters: Alex Nelson, Director of Arts Learning at the Arizona Commission on the Arts; Lynn Tuttle, Senior Regulatory Policy Advisor for the National Association for Music Education

Alex currently manages the agency’s arts education and lifelong learning programs, services and grants. Alex has served as a member of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ Arts Education Advisory Group, the Grantmakers in the Arts’ Arts Education Funders Coalition, and on the boards of VSA Arizona and Emerging Arts Leaders Phoenix.

Lynn is newly appointed to her position having previously served as Director of Arts Education at the Arizona Department of Education and now serves as Senior Regulatory Policy Advisor for the National Association for Music Education. Her current duties include supporting state level music education associations in the areas of standards, assessment, teacher evaluation, professional development and the interconnection of federal and state policy.

Art & Economic Development

Creative enterprises produce concrete economic benefits, including jobs, tax revenue and consumer spending.   Creative economy initiatives strengthen collaboration within government and across sectors. How can your organization learn to make the tie between Arts and Economic Development?

Presenter: Jeff Velasquez, Landscape Architect and Project Manager with J2 Engineering & Environmental Design

His professional career has been focused on achieving creative sustainable design solutions for clients, including municipal, county, state, federal and private clientele. He has specialized in Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Development as well as Urban Design, Streetscape & Place making projects - including downtown & district redevelopment.

Storytelling in Advocacy

When statistics and reports fail to paint a picture, a moving, representative story about an individual project or person has the power to open minds and hearts.  Join us for an interactive introduction to the storytelling basics that will help you shape powerful stories for arts advocacy.  Participants will learn simple, effective story structuring and storytelling tools to help bring their organizations alive to legislators, board members, and potential funders.

Presenters: Doug Bland, Liz Warren and Nancy Wolter of South Mountain Community College's Storytelling Institute

Doug Bland is pastor at the Community Christian Church in Tempe where he has served for 21years.  He is adjunct faculty at the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute.

Liz Warren, a fourth-generation Arizonan, is a storyteller, teacher and writer. She directs the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, which received the 2014 New Times Best of Phoenix award for “Best Place to Learn to Tell Tales.”

Nancy Wolter formerly served as Mesa Arts Center’s Development Director and retired in June 2015. Since retiring, Nancy has renewed her passion for storytelling and is earning a certificate in storytelling from South Mountain Community College’s Storytelling Institute. Her current interest in storytelling is focused on helping arts/non-profit organizations tell the compelling stories that connect them with their donors.