What is Arts Congress?

Arts Congress is an annual event sponsored by Arizona Citizens for the Arts (AzCA) at the Arizona State Capitol. It is designed for arts and culture supporters to meet with their state legislators about the importance of public policies that support arts and culture and increasing public funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Who should attend Arts Congress?

Anyone who is passionate about and been affected arts and culture. This is an opportunity to discuss the importance of arts and culture to your community and to our state.

For sponsoring organizations: Ideally a mix of executive staff, board members and patrons who are passionate about your organization and arts and culture in Arizona should attend.

Attendees should be willing to share their personal experiences and stories about the impact of arts and culture in their lives when they meet with their legislators.

Where do I go?

Registration for the day will begin between 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. and remain open all morning on the House Lawn at the State Capitol:

1700 West Washington

Phoenix, AZ 85007

There will be a registration table set up where you will check in and receive an agenda for the day, a schedule of your meetings, talking points and information on the workshops being presented that day. The tables under the tent will be marked with a number corresponding to each legislative district. We ask that you check in with your Team Leader following registration. He/she will be at the table for the district that you are assigned.

Where do I park?

There is parking surrounding the Capitol building both in lots and on the street. (See map)

What should I wear?

Arts Congress is held outside on the Senate Lawn under a tent. Please dress appropriately and consider your footwear. The terrain may be uneven and the grass could be damp and/or muddy. We also ask the attendees to wear something RED – this is the color that helps distinguish arts advocates at the Capitol during Arts Congress.

What do I need to bring?

If you and/or your organization are a sponsor you should bring information about your organization to be displayed on our sponsor table. You may also want to bring a pad and pen to take notes during your meeting or throughout the day.

How can I prepare for Arts Congress?

You should begin to think about your personal stories and experiences in the arts to share with the legislators. You also may review the full Arizona Citizens for the Arts website to learn more about arts and culture issues in Arizona. Take a look at the materials and schedule from Arts Congress.

What does it mean to be a Sponsor of Arts Congress?

A sponsorship allows a small business or organization to send four (4) attendees and one (1) or more youth registrants to Arts Congress. The organization or business will be listed as a sponsor on signage, collateral material distributed to legislators during the day and on AzCA’s website. Sponsors also have the opportunity to display materials about their organizations or businesses on a table during the event.

What else happens during Arts Congress?

A schedule for the day will be posted ahead of time. Workshops are planned on advocacy, economic development, an overview on the 2019 Legislative Session, arts education, and storytelling in advocacy. Specifics about the workshops will be posted shortly.

Water, coffee and snacks will be provided in the morning, and a boxed lunch will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. At either 1:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m., we ask attendees go to either the House or Senate galleries, respectively, to see a performance opening the session and be introduced as a group.

Who will I meet with during Arts Congress?

Attendees usually are assigned to meet with legislators who represent them in the legislative district in which they live or work. However, in an effort to make sure all legislators interested in Arts Congress participate in meetings with arts advocates, you may be asked to meet with a legislator in another district. We will contact you the week prior to Arts Congress if we would like you to assist in another district than your own.

Who else will be in my meeting(s) with a legislator?

You will be joined by other attendees (most likely from your legislative district) and your Team Leader.

Your Team Leader will have a short meeting with the entire team prior to the meeting(s) with your legislator(s), at which he/she will go over the talking points AzCA has prepared for you. We ask that all attendees check in with their Team Leader after they register on the morning of Arts Congress. Your Team Leader will be listed on the meeting packet posted on the Arts Congress page and sent out to all attendees the week prior to the event. They will also be listed on your registration information.

What should I say during my meeting?

So that everyone delivers the same message to the legislators, you will be provided talking points about the specific arts and culture issues at stake in the 2019 legislative session. In your meeting(s), the Team Leader for your group(s) will help steer the conversation and keep the meeting on track. However, it helps make the meeting more effective if you are prepared to personalize the talking points with your own experiences. Legislators hear facts and figures all day long, so providing them with a meaningful story will resonate with them.

May I share material from my arts organization with the legislators?

We encourage everyone to come prepared to share personal stories or experiences relating to arts and culture in Arizona.

Will all legislators meet with arts advocates during Arts Congress?

Not all legislators are able to schedule meetings during Arts Congress. We contact each legislator but some are not able to meet. Most legislators prefer meeting with a small (2-3 person) group in their office. We sometimes receive a large number of attendees from several districts, and in those cases, we will try to schedule larger group meetings.

Will my legislator come to the tent for lunch?

All legislators are invited to lunch in the tent. Not all legislators can or will attend; and some may stop by briefly to pick up lunch and then return to their offices; however this is sometimes the only time legislators are able to meet with their constituents and if that is the case, your meeting with that legislator will specify “LUNCH at (TIME)” so that you know when they will arrive to meet with you at your district’s lunch table.