This past Sunday, the six ITO and several other members of EdTA traveled to Washington DC to take part in the annual Arts Advocacy Day. The day is an opportunity for representatives of the state's arts organizations to meet with members of congress and enlighten them on the importance of funding the arts. Some representatives are in favor of appropriating funds for the arts, and some are not. This is our opportunity to provide facts, figures, and passion to help sway those that are opposed to it.
After a day of training and info sessions, we hit Capitol Hill to meet with the reps. As I'm from St. Louis, I was with the Missouri squad for the day. Our delegation was pretty small, about 5 or 6, so we all stayed together rather than dividing and conquering. Along with us was Keelly Jones, a speech contest winner with the Missouri Arts Alliance and, ironically, one of Missouri's STOs for next year. We had four meetings throughout the day. All four were with the representative's staff, as they are very busy and were not able to attend. One of the meetings was in Senator Roy Blunt's office, and the other three were with district Congressmen/women.
Ultimately, the Arts Advocacy Day 2014 was a success on the Missouri front! We made some great arguments, and it seemed as though our visits really may have made a difference in the long run. It's visits like these that were happening all over Capitol Hill, with every state's delegations, that show congress how passionate we are about the arts.