By Helen Duranleau-Brennan posted 04-07-2014 06:40

Two Iowa Chapter Board members, Elizabeth Hansen, and myself, attended National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, in March. The whole experience was enlightening, and valuable, and gave us insight and skills that we have brought back to our own chapter.

Normally, Iowa would have a contingency representing several arts organizations, but this year it was up to Iowa Thespians to have a presence. We arranged all our own congressional appointments in advance, attended the training on Monday, and spent the day Tuesday meeting with congressional aides to discuss issues that directly relate to arts education. Along with the ITO from Grinnell, Sara Etheridge, we made our rounds between Iowa's representative's offices.

Many thanks to Jim Palmarini from EdTA who was supportive and instructional as we learned the process. With his help, Iowa Thespians felt it to be a successful venture on many levels. Our goals for the future include being more highly involved in advocacy issues with our state's organizations, and to attend and support the advocacy events in our state, and future national events. We realize the importance of being involved at local, state and national levels, and now have some skills with which to move forward.

I would urge all chapters to make attendance at National Arts Advocacy Day a priority. We DO have a voice, and we have to make the opportunities to use it!