ArtsGeorgia convened the 2019 Arts Advocacy Roundtable along with our co-hosts, C4 Atlanta, the Arts & Culture Alliance of Chatham County and the United Arts Front at the Woodruff Arts Center in June 2019. This latest roundtable included advocates from Atlanta, Columbus, Decatur, Macon, Marietta, Milledgeville, Rome and Savannah, plus others, almost tripling the number of advocates at the 2018 Roundtable meeting. Advocates received an Arts Advocate tote filled with arts advocacy materials, brochures, buttons, stickers and the ArtsGeorgia Arts Advocacy Resource Handbook.
The 2019 agenda included a review of developments, reports of progress, the status of action steps, information for new members, distribution of the ArtsGeorgia Resource Handbook, and announcements of new initiatives. Presentations covered arts advocacy, the workings of the General Assembly, arts education conferences, arts funding, pending legislation and overview on state arts policy.
The Resource Handbook included information on the impact of the arts with articles, reports, summaries and charts detailing why the arts matter in metro Atlanta and statewide. The value of the arts economically to the state and its percentage of the state budget was discussed as key to advocating for any increases in funding and for changes to state policy. Advocacy programs and conferences by AFTA and the American Association of Museums, a history of advocacy and arts funding in Georgia, plus tips, examples and checklists on advocacy were major highlights. The advocacy survey results were discussed and ArtsGeorgia’s new initiative for a city/county arts funding survey was introduced with some initial results presented.
Additional presentations on local arts funding, arts education programs, pending legislation, lists of other advocacy resources, and tips for working with state legislators prepared arts advocates for challenges in the coming year. Event evaluations by those attending reinforced the value and need for periodic meetings, active sharing of information and the value of working together.
As a direct result of these discussions and feedback, a statewide series of regional Arts Advocacy Roundtables were planned with the first convened in Macon; it was followed by a meeting in Savannah. Additional meetings are currently being planned for Athens-northeast region, Calhoun-northwest region, Cobb County metro area, Columbus and Brunswick. (Any local arts agency or community-based arts organization interested in participating as co-host for a Roundtable meeting should contact ArtsGeorgia at firstname.lastname@example.org