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Advocating for the Arts

Did you know this? According to Americans for the Arts, each year in the United States, the nonprofit arts industry (museums, performing and visual arts, arts councils and others) generates $29.6 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues while government support (federal, state and local) is less than $4 billion annually; i.e., the arts industry generates more than seven times government investment.

Why are we telling you this? We all are part of the arts community and while we recognize arts are underfunded, many of us have a hard time articulating how best to talk about their importance in our communities. Next time you’re stuck, pull out the figures in the above paragraph. And add this: our country’s arts and entertainment are leading exports globally, with estimates of more than $30 billion annually in overseas sales, including the output of artists and other creative workers in the publishing, audiovisual, music, recording and entertainment businesses. The arts are worth supporting, but it needs our continued voices in that support. We hope the above talking points can help us be better advocates.*

CDSS Is a Living Example of State Arts Advocacy

Much of CDSS’s funding comes from you, our members, donors, friends, campers, callers, dancers, singers and musicians (thank you!), and we also receive funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for our work within the state. The funds that our cultural council distributes to us and other arts agencies in MA comes from an annual appropriation from the State Legislature and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace Foundation, and others. So it’s a lot of MA resident tax dollars at work, and your tax dollars as well, funneled through the National Endowment for the Arts. (Thank you, again.)

I want to share that the MA House Ways and Means Committee approved an amendment last week to reverse the proposed budget cut to the MCC. Yippee!! Huzzzah! This bodes well for the arts in Massachusetts! We’ll be meeting with the MCC this week and we want to offer a resounding round of applause and say a BIG “Thank you, Massachusetts Cultural Council, for your support of our work!” (For our fellow MA residents, let your elected representatives know that you’ve benefitted from funding of the MCC grant to CDSS!)

For ways to talk, email, write or call your elected representatives, check out the Arts Action Center on the Americans for the Arts website. Also check out the Arts Action Fund, a sister organization to the Americans for the Arts for more information on advocating for the arts.

* Thanks to Americans for the Arts for the talking points; they are a wonderful resource for advocacy and information on the role of Arts in our schools, communities and across the U.S.