Highlights from National Arts Advocacy Day

U.S. Capitol

April 8 & 9, 2013 marked the 26th annual Arts Advocacy Day, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for advocates to speak out for the arts and arts education and be heard by Congress.

Each year Arts Alliance Illinois leads a team to Washington, DC for Arts Advocacy Day. Representing Illinois this year were 10 cultural leaders, including arts administrators and educators, local advocates and national leaders, first-timers and veterans.

Together, we walked the halls of Congress and met with the offices of U.S. Representatives Danny Davis (D-7), Rodney Davis (R-13), Bill Foster (D-11), Mike Quigley (D-5), Jan Schakowsky (D-9), Brad Schneider (D-10), and Aaron Schock (R-18) as well as U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Here are a few of our highlights:

A surprise visit with Congressman Danny Davis, who pledged, "I'll support the arts as long as I live" and demonstrated his own artistic ability with off-the-cuff recitals of "The Wise Owl," "The Owl-Critic," and other (non-avian) poems.

With Congressman Danny Davis at Arts Advocacy Day

Yo-Yo Ma's moving Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Life titled "Art for Life's Sake," where he explored the "edge effect" of the arts converging with sectors such as healthcare and education. Yo-Yo Ma will present at Arts Alliance Illinois' inaugural luncheon benefit on May 17.

A social media shout-out from Congressman Aaron Schock, co-chair of the new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Caucus in Congress. The charge of the caucus is to change the vocabulary of education to recognize the benefits of both the arts and sciences—and their intersections—to our country’s next generation.

Congressman Aaron Schock Tweets about Arts Advocacy Day

Thanks to the Illinois cultural leaders who helped make Arts Advocacy Day a success: Claudia Freeman, Waukegan Park District; AmySue Mertens, Ingenuity Incorporated; Karen Quisenberry, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; Amy Rasmussen, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education; Alan Salzenstein, Association of Arts Administration Educators; Maria Somma, Actors' Equity Association; and Cheryl Yuen, Arts Alliance Illinois Board of Directors.

Image credit: Flickr user Jonathon Colman