On November 7, the AAGA was pleased to host Jenny Hershour, Managing Director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania. Jenny serves as the captain for the state of Pennsylvania at AFTA's annual Arts Advocacy day, so this was an exciting opportunity for our students to get an up close and personal look at advocacy in PA and the USA. AAGA Advocacy Director Lindsey Gearhart hosted a "fireside chat" to discuss various aspects of advocating for the arts.
Jenny stressed the importance of devoting your life to advocating for the arts. It's important that people understand how important it is to stand your ground on things that are meaningful to you. Jenny also stressed that advocacy is all about relationship building. YOU must develop it.
First time advocates should also take a report or one sheet in to the person they are meeting with. It is important on your first visit to be able to discuss the impact of the arts. You can also leave newsletters or invite legislators to events. You never know when someone may actually take you up on your offer.
Jenny also said to not get discouraged if you end up meeting with a legislator's staffer. Staff members are extremely important because they understand the issues at hand and can include this information when meeting with their bosses. As an arts advocate YOU must make it personal and show why the arts are important to you. People won't care unless you make them care.
Jenny's talk was a great opportunity for first year AADM students to get first hand knowledge about arts advocacy before hitting Capital Hill next Spring.
The evening continued with a Mentor/ Mentee reception where first & second year students and AADM faculty celebrated the official start to another great school year.