Hard Work Getting Those Grassroots to Grow

I have been hearing Americans for the Arts’ “The Less Arts Kids Get, The More It Shows” PSAs on the radio lately. Inspired, I went to the website trying to see if they had any banner ads that I could put on my organizational website when I announced my new season. I looked under all the tabs, including resources, get involved and join us. I noticed there were bumper stickers available so I sent them an email asking about web images and floating some ideas.

That was two weeks ago and I still haven’t heard from them. I intended to make a tongue in cheek post about how if I was a 20-something, I would probably simply appropriate the image from their website, photoshop it into something usable and use it in a video I posted on YouTube.

However, upon returning to the site, I noticed a link about becoming an official campaign partner. Since the list of their partners is mostly state and local arts councils, I didn’t think that applied to me. I only wanted to toss up something on my work site to show my support.

It turns out that is exactly what I was looking for. If it wasn’t for my curiosity, I may not have discovered that fact even after following the link since it isn’t until page 3 that you learn you can apply to get the logo for your website and newsletters for free.

Frankly, it seems like a lot of impediments for individual arts organizations to show their support. I can see from the structure of their campaign that they want to provide some exclusivity to the state and community arts partners who paid to participate in the effort. But I think it would all really be effective if members of the community saw the logo on webpages, brochure and program book so often that they automatically began intoning “The Less Kids Get, the More It Shows,” every time the word Art came up in conversation.

In spite of what I feel are missteps, I want to encourage everyone to think about filling out the application as a general level partner and placing the logo on your website as you begin adding the events of your next season.

If you run/host arts classes or have youth arts organizations who rent your facilities for recitals/performances, think about posting a big sign where parents dropping of their kids can see it thanking them for getting their children involved in the arts. Maybe list some of the benefits for their kids, success stories, and maybe how to get a window sticker.

And you know, if you are a passionate twenty-something (especially at heart!) who loves the arts and you are moved to create a video on YouTube…

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/)

My most recent role was as Executive 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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