AAGA Advocate for the Arts
April 20, 2011 — This story was written by Arts Administration graduate student Whitney Roux about her experience at Arts Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. If you are interested in writing a story for an upcoming edition of the Westphal newsletter, please email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a student in the graduate program in Arts Administration I was fortunate enough to take part in Americans for the Arts: Arts Advocacy Day. In the middle of Congressional budget talks, I joined 20 other students to meet with legislators regarding the importance of funding the NEA and keeping arts education alive in America's schools. After learning how to articulate the impact that the arts have on communities and the economy, we went to Capitol Hill to meet with elected officials and make our case. I met with the delegation from California (I'm originally from San Diego) and spoke with my Representative, Duncan Hunter. Joined by two music educators, I shared with my congressman the importance the arts had in my life and urged him to support funding arts education in public schools. The experience was empowering. A week after our visit the budget was announced and instead of cutting funding for the National Endowment for the Arts by $43 million, it was reduced by $13 million to $155 million for the current fiscal year. Funding for Arts Education Programs was not erased as proposed; rather $25 million was allocated.
Attending Arts Advocacy Day was only possible because of the hard work of the Arts Administration graduate program and the executive student-run board of the Arts Administration Graduate Association (AAGA). The 8th Annual AAGA Art Auction raised more than $7,000 in February, affording all of our students the option to attend. At the auction, program director Cecelia Fitzgibbon announced that I was the first recipient of the Karen Murdoch Arts Administration Leadership Scholarship for visionary leadership and devotion to continuous improvement. Karen was a student in the Arts Administration program from 1997 to 1998. She was a dedicated educator and arts leader who had a vision to create an arts and music school after graduation which she accomplished with her partner, Wendy Keppe.
I am already looking forward to attending Arts Advocacy Day next year knowing that we do have a voice, but the only way to be heard is to get involved. We can all be advocates. For more on our exciting trip to Washington D.C. and to learn more about advocating for the arts, the AAGA or Drexel's Arts Administration program go to www.drexelaaga.com.