We know there are a lot of questions about how to advocate for local funding. The bottom line is this – all cities and counties (and even the state) will follow the guidance from the US Treasury. That will give local governments the tools they need to start getting their priorities in place. Additionally, not every city/county will approach this funding the same. So your advocacy strategies will have to be hyper-local and may not be uniform even within your own county or region.
But that doesn’t mean you should wait around either. Here’s what you can do now:
- Reach Out Locally ASAP / NOW! Local governments are already talking about what they may be able to do with their funding. They need to hear from the arts NOW so that when they meet to actually put a plan in place, they’ve already heard from you. Use this as a template for your own letter! Please share your letters with [email protected]
- Team Up. There is strength in numbers. Team up with your fellow arts groups and nonprofit groups to meet with local leaders. Write Op-Eds together, issue public statements, and host meetings.
- Stay Engaged. Keep an eye on the process, look for opportunities to keep in touch with your local leaders. Don’t only depend on alerts from us – local governments may move at totally different paces than the state, let alone their neighbors. We’ll be posting updates as we get them, but locally – you’re going to be the best advocates on the ground.
- Think Through the Process. This advocacy work is not just about being noticed – it’s about being heard and being useful. You want to be sure that your requests are limited to what is supported, but also how it is supported. As we’ve learned throughout COVID-19 relief packages – the secret is in the application, administration, and reporting of funds. They all need to be arts-friendly so that all arts groups have the opportunity to benefit.
- Be Ready. This can happen very fast, and it can also happen very slowly (funding can be used through 2024). When the time comes, you need to already be there, early and prepared. We cannot develop a cohesive strategy that would work in every single local government – over ___ of them – so we’ll be relying on you, local advocates, to help ensure the arts are support at the local level.