Arts Advocacy Day 2014

By Katie Ferchen posted 04-06-2014 20:46

It has now been two weeks since the day I traveled to Washington D.C. for my very first National Arts Advocacy Day experience. Two weeks has given me plenty of time to relax, reflect- and view the impact this event had on me. I can truly say that it has shaped me in the best way possible as a leader, advocate, and human being.

On that Monday, the ITOs and many other advocates from across the nation were trained for Tuesday. We got to sit through many lectures about the arts and their impact on many different parts of our society today. Being highly involved in the arts since the 6th grade, I thought I realized all of the impacts that the arts could make... But just in this one day, I learned so much more about this simple and beautiful interest that I've had for the majority of my life. My eyes were opened about the arts' impact on health, education, employment, and so much more. The facts were outstanding- facts that I knew would be useful not only the next day, but also when I got back to Cincinnati. 

In addition to learning countless facts, I learned so much about myself by attending this event. I learned how much the stories I've heard this year have meant to me. How, without the arts, I would have still be a really shy kid that's afraid to tackle any opportunity she may want. The greatest thing I learned about myself, though, was that it made so much sense that I want to pursue chemistry education after being so involved in the arts. The arts have expanded my mind into a world that longs for constant discovery, creativity, ingenuity, and more. Science, oddly enough, goes hand in hand with the arts because of its ability to make us think and not be afraid of trial and error.

On National Arts Advocacy Day (Tuesday), I was able to speak to the staffers of both Ohio senators. My team and I named the facts, but the greatest part of both conversations was when I told the stories of myself and my friends. These personal stories of growth and triumph made the staffers really think about the impact of the arts- creating a bridge between the worlds of the arts, and the world of politics.

A few days after returning from D.C., I taught my advocacy workshop to a packed room at the Ohio State Thespian Conference. I can truly say that it was the best I've taught the workshop- all because of this event. This opportunity has taught me more than I could ever imagine, and made me feel even more grown up. Traveling to D.C. to tell the story that needs to be heard by the entire world was an experience I'll never forget. I can only hope I'll get an opportunity like this again later in life. Thank you so much, ITS and EdTA for allowing me to take this journey. 

Katie Ferchen
ITO Region IV Rep