Advocacy Talking Points
In conversations with legislators and other public officials a number of key points should be highlighted relative to the arts in general and the funding of the State Council on the Arts in particular. In support of these points, local success stories, statistics and context is critical.
The State Council on the Arts is currently funded out of the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and needs to remain in that appropriations fund as opposed to the General Fund.
Justification for the Council receiving state support through the ETF includes:
- The arts by nature are a means of learning and teaching.
- The arts reach students on multiple levels to enhance learning generally, and in other specific subjects.
- The arts motivate at-risk and disadvantaged students in ways where traditional teaching methods have not succeeded.
- The arts provide new challenges for high-achieving students.
- The education program of the Council provides support directly to K-12 schools, schools systems, teachers and students, as well as, colleges and universities for a wide range of educational activities and projects.
- Grant funds awarded by the Council to schools are matched with corporate, foundation, other government and individual dollars by over ten to one.
- All Council grantees, by requirements of their 501C-3 tax-exempt status must provide an educational service.
Supporting the arts and cultural resources of the state should be viewed as an investment progress in areas such as:
- Community/downtown development
- Cultural tourism
- Business expansion
- Broadening understanding of cultural diversity
- Preserving cultural heritage and traditions
- Providing positive alternatives for children at-risk
- Enhancing the quality of life for the entire population
State support for the arts in Alabama generates a 20 to 1 match from the private sector.
The grants program of the Council directly returns public dollars to the local level for significant community activities.
In that a better national and international image is important for the state to cultivate, the arts reflect a positive side of the state’s true personality and character, perhaps, better than any other form of communication.
The arts should be part of a public support policy designed to improve the quality of life for all Alabamians.
State support, as administered through the State Council on the Arts for over 35 years with published guidelines and strict accountability, is a good government approach to stimulating and nurturing the arts and cultural resources of Alabama.