'Arts Day' at the State House

March 12, 2009
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Arts advocates are used to having trouble getting attention. But today's Arts Day at the Indiana State House is being double teamed by a downtown fire and the Big 10 tournament. (The fire already bumped my Fox 59 weekend A&E preview segment off the schedule today, which of course delivers a crushing blow to the arts.)

Still, the Indiana Coalition for the Arts is pushing for a big presence today--and more via e-mail--to push the value of public funding for the arts and arts education. More details here.  

So what message do you think arts advocates should be sending? Or do you think, in tough economic times, that the arts should take a back seat to other priorities?

Your thoughts?
  • I think Arts the the foundation of civilized society is a good start - when all else is crumbling to ruin (stock market, sports teams...) the arts are enduring. Also, in these times, I think the truly fringe elements of the arts (i.e. anything dealing with poop) should be minimized and exhibits/shows with broader appeal (See how many people we're making happy!) should be emphasized. 1,000 people at an art event is a much better turn-out (comparatively) than 1,000 people at a Pacers game.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • I didn't have a free moment until just now (after 5 pm) so I don't know if my email will count towards the goal of 1000 emails today, but here is what I sent anyway:

    Dear _____,

    I hope it is not too late to add my voice to the others who are contacting you today during Arts Day at the Statehouse.

    The arts are essential to the well-being of our community. They are NOT a frill or something that would be nice if... They are essential.

    Please do NOT support any major cuts to the arts.


    Hope Baugh

    That Indiana Coalition for the Arts website made it very easy to compose and send an email to my representatives. I appreciate that! I didn't use their talking points, obviously, but I appreciated having them there to think about.

    I am proud of myself for writing something so short. I could write volumes on the importance of the arts!

    Sue B., I don't know if I always need art to make me happy...sometimes I would rather it make me think or that it inspire me or that it heal me or that it make me feel less lonely and/or less alone, all of which are a little different from making me happy.

    But I love your no poop guideline.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • Interestingly, even though I subscribe (and mostly ready) a number of arts organization's newsletters, I was not aware of this day. I'm assuming many of the local arts organizations support the Coalition. I would have gladly spread the word and given my support.
  • Attending Arts Day at the Statehouse gave me a great chance to network, and find out about several different organizations at opposite ends of Indiana's art world. Unfortunately, I didn't see many fellow artists.
  • This day was poorly publicized, if at all. Attendance was the usual suspects of area arts administrators. The inclusion of awards in the ceremonies just added to the unfocused impression the entire event gave. If you are gathering at the Statehouse to lobby, then just lobby!

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  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

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