The first time I heard the phrase “arts advocacy” was about three years ago. I had obviously heard the word “arts” before, and knew that advocacy meant to publicly support, so I figured arts advocacy meant public support for the arts. However, I had never heard the words used together before. At the time, I was performing in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and my director told us about how important arts advocacy, or support for the arts, is and how badly it was lacking in the South. Now, of course, that is a generalization, however it rang true for Lubbock, Texas, and after moving to Norman, Oklahoma, I observed the same problem: there is a lack of arts advocacy in the Oklahoma community.
Both visual and performing arts culture and inform people about other humans and history in a creative fashion. For instance, drama is the study of the human condition; actors explore humans and then perform plays that contain characters that these actors have made their own. If this sub-branch of art isn’t advocated for, the less people will know about other humans and other cultures, and the more it will show. By discussing this problem, the stakeholders I have interviewed and I hope to raise awareness of the arts and increase the number of advocates and supporters of the arts in our community. There isn’t just one significant problem with arts advocacy in Oklahoma; it’s a myriad of problems that have accumulated over the years. To be fair, Oklahoma, specifically Norman, is actually going through an artistic and cultural awakening, and it isn’t the absolute worst place for the arts.
However, the support for the arts just simply is not up to par. One of the problems I’m going to explore is the fact Norman is considered a . .s of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” As a community, we must make a change if we want to see the arts prosper and thrive.
Local nonprofits, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Americans for the Arts, and many others have done their part; now, it’s our turn. I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but one person can make a big difference. Contrary to popular belief, being an arts advocate doesn’t mean being some radical protester. An arts advocate is someone who just does a little to show support for the arts and gets others to support the arts, as well. Anyone and everyone can be an advocate, even if they don’t consider themselves an “artsy” person. It’s time for strides to be made in the art community, and its time for us, as a community, to become advocates.