Arts Advocacy

Arts Advocacy: Why it Matters

Written by: Madison Kautman, April 2018

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is typically defined as public support for, or recommendation of, a particular cause or policy. It can be as small and simple as a bumper sticker supporting an artist or local arts organization, and can grow as large as a public rally. Regardless of size and involvement, advocacy can make an impact, and the benefit of advocacy can be tremendous for art, artists, and arts organizations.

How to Advocate for the Arts:

Perhaps the most common and easy way to advocate for the arts is to share, highlight, and display art. Whether you’re a single person or part of a whole organization, showing your support for the arts by displaying art in some shape or form is great for advocacy.

Donning stickers, t-shirts, and more with sayings such as “#SAVEtheNEA” or “I Support the Arts” will bring awareness to those around you that you’re advocating for the arts. Talking and sharing on social media can also make a huge impact.

Always be aware of local and federal legislative policies regarding the arts. If you’re comfortable doing so, be ready to stand up, support, and fight for the arts. One of the best ways to do so is by joining public movements and walks, and by contacting your legislators, representatives, and stakeholders. It is in their best interest to reflect the needs and concerns of those they represent. Don’t be afraid to make a call or send a letter!

Participate in Arts Advocacy Day!

This is a day for members of the community to come together and rally for the arts. Lansing’s Arts Advocacy Day is April 18, 2018! This year, Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is partnering with Creative Many in a triumphant return for state advocacy!

Read here for more information. (

Advocacy at Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center:

Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center’s mission is to provide public awareness, education and enjoyment of the visual arts by promoting the works of Michigan artists. In doing so, we advocate the arts on a daily basis at personal, local, state, and nation-wide levels. We encourage advocacy for the arts so that our communities can continue to learn, create, explore, and experience art.

In March, Executive Director Barb Whitney traveled to Washington D.C. for the national Arts Advocacy Day. She had the incredible opportunity to witness many arguments for funding the arts and was able to meet with legislators. The Michigan advocacy contingent was at least 40 strong, thanks to the recent efforts made by Sarah Triplett of Creative Many Michigan.

How can you help right now?

Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is planning ARTpath, a public art project that will bring art to 10 sites along the Lansing River Trail. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is willing to match $7,500 in funds this month from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the project. Donate by April 30th and share your advocacy for this project! It will bring more art into downtown Lansing in a fun, inclusive way for everyone in the community!

Additional Resources on Advocacy:



Photo: Executive Director Barb Whitney with Jane Chu, Michigan’s chairwoman for the National Endowment for the Arts. Taken at Arts Advocacy Day 2018 in Washington D.C.

Photo: Barb Whitney pictured at Americans for the Arts