Tuesday, February 6, 2007

California Arts Council Conference

This week I turn TuesdayAt2 over to two of my colleagues: Mathew Croft, associate artist with QUADRE who you all know and love :) and Barry Hessenius, former director of the California Arts Council. They both were at the California Arts Council conference last Tuesday in Sacramento and provide thoughts and a wrap-up on the experience.

CAC Conference Wrap-Up
Barry Hessenius has a blog hosted by WESTAF - the Western States Arts Federation. He has been doing it since April 2005. Click here to read a run-down on what happened at the conference from his perspective.

CAC Conference Reactions/Thoughts
By Mathew Croft
Attending this event was an amazing and eye-opening experience for me. We can't just be in our own little world, making our music, and expect to succeed. We [the arts industry] are a business, and we need to work like a more effective business, getting involved in the political arena, if only on a local level, will be worth the efforts, both long and short term. We also need to seek opportunities to collaborate with other artists of every discipline, to reach more people, not to "prove" to anyone that we are relevant, but to BE more relevant to more people.

A message that seemed rather strong to me was when we were asked how many of us knew our senator and representative on a first-name-basis. I certainly hadn't ever thought of this, but we all know (if we think about it for a second), that people support those that they know and trust. If our politicians don't know and trust us, how are we going to have their support? It's how to get things done.

Arts Council Roundtable notes
The CAC Has 3 Main Missions:

1) Advocacy
2) Public Awareness (Publicity)
3) Programming

The most clear and comprehensive area that they presented to us was in the Public Awareness area. They are trying to educate legislators, on a state level, but with California's term limits they are constantly working with new legislators. They encouraged us all to get involved with our local government leaders, who are usually the pool of future state legislators, to let them know what we are doing, how we benefit the people that they represent, not only for the good it does on the local level, but also pre-exposure to the benefits of the arts if they move on to state level politics.

**Dana Gioia Quotes - more on Dana in Barry's report
"We have an obligation to enter the public conversation about what we are doing."
"Politicians are just doing their jobs-making life better for their constituents. It's our job to create win-win arguments to politicians on how we enrich the lives of all people."
"We need to be positive, not negative; inclusive, not selective, and democratic, not polarizing."

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