In 2009, the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network created an Arts Education Advocacy Tool Kit for those interested in sharpening their skills and strategies to support arts education. The easy-to-use tool kit has sample documents, useful lists, and an accompanying video. This practical resource has four sections: Habits of Effective Arts Education Advocates, Coalitions and Networking, Creating an Effective Arts Education Advocacy Plan, and an Appendix of valuable sample documents including a video companion piece.
Habits of Effective Arts Education Advocates
Nine common-sense habits are outlined in the tool kit, including Know Your Beliefs, Make Advocacy a Daily Priority, Understand that Advocacy Is Time Sensitive, and Building Long-Term Relationships. Whether you are an experienced advocate or just learning how to make your voice heard, these tips will prove useful to your work.
Coalitions and Networking
Next, the tool kit outlines how you can form coalitions and networks to support arts education advocacy work. This section includes useful checklists of potential allies to help you build an effective network for your community, and it outlines specific criteria to consider. To effectively address system-wide challenges, it recommends working in a coalition, including individuals with diverse skills and perspectives. For example: Parents can be counted on to raise concerns about quality, access, and equity in children’s education. Students know firsthand how the arts affect their lives and their school environment, and they can be very articulate communicators. Business and community leaders have access to valuable resources and can influence public opinion.
Creating an Effective Arts Education Advocacy Plan
This section guides you through developing an effective art education advocacy plan for your community: determining your goals, making your strongest case, and shaping your message to the audiences you want to influence.
Appendix of Samples
The Appendix contains tips for visits to elected officials as well as sample letters; statements; and presentations, such as an example of testimony for a legislative committee meeting and a presentation to a local school board. A video companion piece provides step-by-step instructions to aid advocates in setting up meetings with federal or state representatives, including how to schedule an appointment and the types of materials to bring.
Begin to harness the power of advocacy to improve arts education in your community by downloading the Kennedy Center’s Arts Education Advocacy Tool Kit free of charge.