The time period between Election Day and Inauguration Day offers many excellent opportunities to reach out to the newly elected and to reconnect with incumbents.
It's especially important to be an involved advocate here in Wisconsin, because election season will give way to budget season as we get ready for the state's 2013-2015 budget process. Your voice will be even more important in the discussions about Wisconsin's investment in the arts, arts education and creative economy throughout the state.
The beginning of a new Congress and State Legislature is a great opportunity to prepare background information on what you, your organization and your community are doing with regard to the arts. Whether you are meeting members for the first time, staff has turned over or you are updating information you have shared previously, the beginning of a new term is always a good time to engage your elected officials.
1) On November 7, make sure you know who your elected officials are, and update your records with their contact information. They should be receiving information about your work on a regular basis, via newsletters, website, mailings, etc.
2) By the end of the week (Friday, November 9), send a congratulatory message via email or even better - a letter via snail mail - to your new and returning officials.
3) By the end of the month, invite your representatives to participate in or attend an arts event (performance, exhibit, educational program, etc.) with your organization and/or in your community.
4) By the beginning of December, send a "state of the arts" packet of information via email or snail mail to let elected officials know what's happening in the arts in your community. Include sharp, concise points that outline the important contributions the arts are making locally. Regardless of who wins the elections on Tuesday, we know that the arts, like many discretionary programs, will be vulnerable to serious reductions in funding, so take this opportunity to think proactively about educating your civic leaders about the importance of investment in the arts, arts education and creative economy.
5) Throughout...work with a variety of stakeholders in your community to carry the message about the arts, arts education and creative economy, including school leaders, Chambers of Commerce, business groups, economic development groups, and tourism groups. Everyone has a stake in investment in the community's economy, education and quality of life!
6) Mark your calendars for Arts Day 2013 on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. It's the biggest networking, educational and promotional day of the year for the arts in Wisconsin.
Arts Wisconsin will provide the information, tools and resources for you to be an informed and active advocate for the arts locally and statewide. Thanks for speaking up and taking action!