In advocacy, there’s enormous value in the large numbers of voices coming together, unified around an issue. Arts Advocacy Day brings together more than 500 individuals who are passionate about the policies that support artists and audiences in their communities. Those who visit Washington, DC each spring roam the halls of Congress, meet with Congressional members or their staff, and follow up with thank you letters and stories. We bombard lawmakers with a lot of information, facts, and anecdotes, bringing a wave of enthusiasm for pro-arts policy-making.

But what happens throughout the rest of the year in DC?

As government affairs director for both Dance/USA and OPERA America, two distinct member service organizations and National Partners for Arts Advocacy Day, I represent the interests of the dance and opera communities in Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies. I work with my members to engage in year-round communication with their lawmakers, provide policy updates on conference calls and at meetings, and speak on behalf of the field through direct lobbying. Yet approximately 20% of my work takes place in coalition meetings.

We also regularly partner with many non-arts organizations including United Way Worldwide, YMCA of the USA, and American Red Cross. We have the ability to find constituents in each district and to share stories about how policy impacts a broad spectrum of arts and cultural organizations and the nonprofit sector as whole.

It is truly a collaborative effort to ensure that the policies we’re seeking work for the greatest number of people and organizations in the arts sector.

Read the full article about advocacy for the arts by Brandon Gryde at Americans for the Arts.