Mobilization: The Best Form of Artistry

By Quanice G. Floyd, Director of Learning & Leadership Development

On March 3-5, artists and arts administrators from all 50 states convened together to ensure that we had a seat at the [legislative] table for the National Arts Action Summit hosted by Americans for the Arts.

As a first-time attendee, I was eager to learn anything and everything I could about arts advocacy. Honestly, when I think about advocacy, I immediately reference House of Cards type of scenarios that we often considered dreadful, corrupt, and malicious. However, this experience was quite the opposite. It was an opportunity for small grassroots arts organizations with 1 full-time staff member to connect with large arts institutions with 200+ staff members for a moment of unity in the name of the arts to create a better America.

On the first day, arts education wonks gathered together to discuss the unified message of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) for the Arts Education Policy Briefing. Leaders from Americans for the Arts, the National Endowment from the Arts, U.S. Department of Education, Arts Education Partnership, and the Maryland State Department of Education were able to break down federal and state policies surrounding STEAM and the National Core Arts Standards. There were opportunities for us to dive deep into the power of STEAM on local, state, and national level.

For the next two days, participants received advocacy training with facts and figures and planned strategies with talking points so that we can make the case to our legislators. We also discussed the importance of messaging the impact of the work of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to all of us in the field. Throughout the days, we sat in sessions, asked questions, digested information, and made new connections. As I met diverse arts advocates from all over the country, I realized that although the stories and the backgrounds were the different, we all were here for one reason: to ensure that the arts are, in fact, for all.

Published: March 21, 2019