Thursday, January 18, 2007

Legislators and Advocacy

Taking the lead from Montana and as mentioned in Rand's "The Arts and State Governments: At Arm's Length or Arm in Arm?", we've been booking meetings with the Island's Members of the Legislative Assemble (or MLAs).

By and large, simply trying to book the meeting seems to be an element of consternation, and, no wonder. How long has it been since our organization engaged their organization - particularly on a one-to-one level? More disconcerting for them, I suspect, it that my hand is not out for dollars.

What is clear from the meetings to-date is that their concerns are largely identical, the value they place on their communities is identical, and their reasons for going into public service are identical. Indeed, regardless of political stripe, their fundamental concerns for population, community health and growth, for their constituents remains consistent.

This, most definitely, works to our advantage, as we can be, with effort and commitment, equally consistent with messages going “in” – and ensure those messages come from constituents who are equally concerned with population, community health and growth, and who are concerned for their neighbors AND who can articulate the role that the arts play in these issues.

Our task will be finding a way to provide leadership in engaging, and motivating the members of the arts and culture community to act at this level in an informed and consistent manner.

In service of that goal and our desire to be better engaged with the arts community ourselves, we’re also continuing along on our consultations with Arts Organizations and with the Island’s Regional Arts Council’s.