April 4, 2013

Three Oklahomans to Attend National Arts Advocacy Day in D.C.

L to R: Julia Kirt, Ken Fergeson and Ken Busby
A small delegation of Oklahomans will attend National Arts Advocacy Day next week in Washington D.C. They are Julia Kirt, Executive Director, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition; Ken Busby, Executive Director and CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa and Ken Fergeson, Chair, Mid-American Arts Alliance and Oklahomans for the Arts Board member.

The event, which takes place April 8-9, is organized by Americans for the Arts. This year's sponsor is Ovation. 

According to AFTA, National Arts Advocacy Day is "taking place during a critical time when the federal spending debate continues to threaten support for the arts and arts education." As Congress and the presidential administration grapple with changing policy proposals, it's imperative that arts advocates visit Capitol Hill to make sure the arts are represented. Oklahoma is very fortunate to have representation!

Check out AFTA's new advocacy video on funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Also, follow Arts Advocacy Day on Facebook to see other videos as they are released!

Julia, Ken Busby and Ken Fergeson will represent all Oklahoma arts advocates when they meet with various members of Oklahoma Congressional delegation and/or their staff members. Together, they will advocate for public funding for the arts at the federal level.

Although you may not be able to attend National Arts Advocacy Day, you can contact your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators and let them know how federal arts funding has impacted your arts organization and/or community.

Oklahoma Congressional Delegation
1st District
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine

2nd District
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin

3rd District
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas

4th District
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole

5th District
U.S. Rep. James Lankford

If you're not sure what district you live in, visit VoteSmart.org and type your address (including your five + four digit zip code) in the dialogue box. You can also click here to see a map of Oklahoma's U.S. Congressional districts.

Oklahoma's U.S. Senators are Senator Tom Coburn and Senator Jim Infofe.

Federal Arts Funding in Oklahoma
About 15 percent ($750,000) of the Oklahoma Arts Council's annual budget comes from the National Endowment for the Arts. These funds are used in direct support of Oklahoma arts organizations through grants and special programs like the annual Oklahoma Arts Conference. In addition, other nonprofit arts organizations in Oklahoma are eligible to receive federal arts funding through direct grants for special projects.

Please contact your federal lawmakers and let them know how important the National Endowment for the Arts is to Oklahoma. In addition, take the opportunity to friend Americans for the Arts on Facebook, and also familiarize yourself with the Congressional Arts Caucus.

Remember to sign up for Arts Day at the Oklahoma Capitol May 8!