Mayoral Support of the Arts

Last month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed four resolutions regarding the arts.

The resolutions, which may be found on pages 7-10 of the Acrobat document were (my emphasis)

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors supports the conclusions of the Arts and
Economic Prosperity III study and urges mayors across the
country to invest in nonprofit arts organizations through their local arts agencies
as a catalyst to generate economic impact, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract tourists and area residents to community activities, and to improve the overall quality of life in America’s cities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges mayors to consider these recommended arts policy strategies to help stimulate private giving to the arts and arts education in America.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges mayors to build partnerships with their local arts agencies and other members of the arts and humanities community in their cities to proclaim, to participate in, and to celebrate the month of October as National Arts and Humanities Month.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support of the National Endowment for the Arts (and specifically the valuable Challenge America program), National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Office of Museum Services within the Institute of Museum and Library Services and calls upon Congress to restore full funding for these agencies in the FY’08 appropriations bills.

Now granted, these resolutions aren’t binding in the least. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your benefit though. Plug your mayor’s name (or city) into the search field in the upper right hand corner of the web site to determine if your mayor is a member of the conference. Then contact his/her honor and congratulate them for joining with their colleagues in ratifying these items and provide suggestions on how you can collaborate.

The better prepared you are with your proposal and the more unity you can show with other arts organizations, arts councils and even chambers of commerce, the more effective I imagine your efforts will be. It doesn’t matter if your mayor voted for the resolution or not, as noted in an earlier entry, if you give him/her an opportunity to look like a good person, there is a good chance of success. Of course, the better the local economy, the better your chances of getting direct financial support from your city.

Getting the mayor to take these resolutions to heart and advocate on behalf of the arts community to businesses and other governmental entities may end up being of greater value than what the municipal budget could provide.

The these four resolutions were submitted by the committee on tourism, arts, parks, entertainment and sports. Unfortunately, the Conference of Mayors website only lists the committee chair. It would be interesting to learn who else serves on the committee since the citizens those mayors serve would have a greater claim on those politicians to step up to their convictions.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.

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