On Tuesday, April 23, 2019 we officially inaugurated ArtsAdvocacy Day by gathering over 200 people on the South Side of the Capitol in downtown Sacramento, California and scheduling over 65 visits with legislatures led by Captains from across the state and Californians for the Arts outstanding board. Over 50% of the legislature received visits from arts advocates asking for support for Governor Newsom’s $10 million funding increase to the State Arts Agency as well as a number of bills supporting arts education, museums, a youth poet laureate and recognition of our cultural districts pilot program and the success of arts in corrections.
With impeccable weather, this day full of events, presentations, speakers and artists, united of all walks of life as we took a stand together as arts advocates in the spirit of advancing arts, culture & creativity in California. It is with great thanks to each of you who attended that day and those supporting from afar for contributing to the community that is dedicated to that which changes lives, the arts. With great enthusiasm among all and an incredible turn out for our first year, we want you to know that through your participation and engagement, we are inspired and energized to continue the work to build public awareness of the value and importance of the arts in California.
So, with that we are eager to support you in ways to continue engaging as well as receive your feedback through a survey so we can better learn about your experience as we plan for next year and as well as activities throughout the year! But before that, let’s take a look at all that contributed to Arts Advocacy Day being a ‘total success’, as we were told by many throughout the day!
In the morning we celebrated April as Arts, Culture & Creativity Month, shared stories and data to show the impact arts have in California (these impact stories are being shared on social media and will be collected and developed into an ongoing blog) and it is beyond inspiring and staggering how impactful the arts truly are! From homelessness to corrections and recidivism rates, to healing and mental health, to confidence and social peer support, housing and public safety, arts changes lives- and gives a voice and a place of belonging to so many from students, artists, musicians, elected officials, parents, and community members alike.
Our line up was full of these moving stories from speakers such as Miss Central California Dana Harrison on the value of her arts education to give her confidence and a voice, Safiya Neal of Sacramento on arts housing transforming her life, and Jennifer ‘JayBee’ Beasley, Founder of Compton Open Mic on arts creating a positive identity and safe space for her community. Students from San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Opera, Nevada Union High School theatre students, Colin Regan from George Washington Carver High School and many more highlighted the transformative power of the arts in the face of adversity and otherwise.
Speakers such as Steven Dilley of Veterans Arts Project, Erin Dorn of the Crocker Art Museum, Naj Wikoff of Creative Healing Connections, Alma Robinson and Jody Prunier of California Lawyers for the Arts and Yvonne Soto, CEO of Developmental
Disabilities Service Organization introduced Jenny an artist in their program also shared the life changing and healing power of arts in veterans, education, health, aging, wellness, corrections and programs for people with disabilities.
Artist Stan Padilla opened the event with a land recognition followed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg presenting a proclamation for April as Arts, Culture & Creativity Month. Over a dozen elected officials stopped by during a very busy legislative day to share why arts matter to them. Rousing and inspiring speeches about the transformative and transactional power of arts, culture and the creative economy were shared by Senator Ben Allen, Senator Robert Hertzberg and Senator Anthony Portantino, Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember’s Kansen Chu, Ian Calderon, Sharon Quirk Silva, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Luz Rivas, Mike Gipson, Connie Petrie-Norris and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Anne Bown Crawford Executive Director of the California Arts Council illustrated the value of the over $20 million in grants they distribute throughout the state and how additional support allows the arts to be accessible for every Californian. The day concluded with a enthusiastic speech from Arts Data Guy Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts Vice President of Policy and Research.
The 3 hour morning presentation on the South Side of the Capitol featured different presenters every 5 minutes and highlighted all the arts disciplines including 2 poets laureate; Mighty Mike Mcgee of Santa Clara and Molly Fisk of Nevada County, Brazilian music and dancing from Mestre Caboclinho, Amazing Grace on the Native American flute performed by Linda Michelle Hardy, monologues from Nevada Union high school thespians and a peace song in Sanskrit performed by Harini Krishnan Vikas. The Crocker Art Museum and Sol Collective were on hand with art making and snacks were provided by Sacramento Co-Op and Milk Money and Artist Kirti Bassendine displayed photographs from her moving Homeless Voices project.
In the afternoon, delegations trekked through the Capitol halls sporting their bipARTisan buttons and speaking to Senators, Assemblymembers and staffers. Some of them were doing this for their first time, and walked away with encouraging encounters. We wrapped up the day with a wonderful reception at the Sheraton where we featured our Legislative Arts Star award, granted this year to Senator Scott Wilk and Assemblymember Richard Bloom. We thank them for their leadership in supporting and advancing the arts!
It is because of your voice and your advocacy that we’ve begun to gather this army of “Arts Advocates” across the miles of California for the undeniable reason that each person deserves access to the arts.
Thank you for joining us at Arts Advocacy Day. We invite you to stay engaged because this is just the beginning! California is THE State of the Arts!
Photos by Alan Sheckter Photography, Mark Freeman and Arts Advocates.
For more great photos go to Californians for the Arts “Arts Advocacy Day” page
Head over to Californians for the Arts NEWS BLOG for more on Arts, Culture & Creativity Month progress and other important breaking news!