Public Policy and Advocacy

Grantmakers in the Arts holds public policy and advocacy as one of its core funding focus areas and believes one of the most important roles we can serve in benefitting our members and the arts grantmaking community – maximizing the impact our sector can have toward increasing access to the arts and realizing racial justice through the arts – comes by way of our public policy and advocacy work. In GIA’s vision for the future, foundations have shifted their foci to increasingly include advocacy and public sector policy and practice.

As part of realizing this vision, we provide programs to teach our members about advocacy and lobbying, the difference between the two, and how grantmakers can support both. GIA advocates for lifelong learning through the arts from early childhood through K-12 and into senior years. Knowing that the arts and arts education cannot be provided without artists, we necessarily advocate for economic justice for artists and other workers.

We are committed to invigorate funding and support for arts education within federal policy, and defend that every resident has access to the arts as part of well-rounded, life-long education. Over the past several years, raising the visibility of the arts in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in its legislative form. GIA and Penn Hill Group continue these advocacy efforts around the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), guiding GIA members and their grantees in advocating for new or expanded arts programs at their local schools and districts. Organized since 2012, GIA’s Arts Education Funders Coalition (AEFC) has worked to address identified needs in comprehensive arts education and to strengthen communication and networking among arts education funders.

The AEFC includes members from Americans for the Arts, Arts Education Partnership, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, among others. Advised by a committee of Coalition members, GIA engaged the services of Washington, D.C.-based Penn Hill Group, a firm with education policy expertise and experience working with diverse education groups to research, develop, and promote educational policy strategies.

Most recently, GIA worked with Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) on the development of the Arts Education for All Act, the broadest arts education policy bill ever introduced in Congress. In Spring 2021, GIA influenced the U.S. Department of Education to highlight the importance of equitable access to arts and culture when determining how to reopen schools. Additionally, GIA emphasized the need to make explicit how this access was racialized prior to the pandemic. Addressing this inequity was essential to effective reopening and remains essential to the adequate provision of comprehensive, well-rounded education.

In addition to Arts Education focused policy work, GIA advocates and lobbies for lifelong learning. GIA is delighted that, in 2020, Congress passed the Supporting Older Americans Act including our recommendations that the Administration on Aging include the arts in the issues to be identified and addressed and be included among supportive services for older Americans.

Another way we are realizing this vision is through the inaugural 2022 GIA Cultural Policy Learning Series and Action Lab, which focuses on such issues as racial equity & transformational practice in the public sector, translating between sectors and planning toward action.

We continue to advocate and lobby for economic justice for workers, including artists. GIA has successfully lobbied to include arts-related provisions in the Child Care for Working Families Act, which proposes to better help low-income families pay for childcare and expand high-quality state preschool options. GIA advocated for AmeriCorps to make national volunteer service more accessible by offering an increase in living allowances. We have also called for arts grantmakers to advocate for portable benefits for workers.

GIA is eager to continue informing the field’s support for advocacy, to advocate for national policies that enhance lifelong access to the transformative power of arts and culture that create economic justice for artists and other workers.

March 8, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

A new bipartisan bill in Congress proposes a $300 million federal grants and commissions program for art workers. The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) is "a joint effort between hundreds of cultural organizations to stimulate the creative economy through public art projects across the United States,” pens Billy Anania in Hyperallergic.

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February 23, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

This week’s NEA podcast is featuring NEA Chair Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. Chair Jackson is no stranger to the Arts Endowment having had a great deal of first-hand experience with the agency as she has served on the National Council on the Arts since 2013. She comes to the position of chair with years of experience in comprehensive community building that focuses on the centrality of the arts. Chair Jackson shares her thoughts about the arts, an artful life, and the Arts Endowment at this time of reopening, rethinking, and reimagining the arts landscape.

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February 3, 2022 by Nadia Elokdah

"Federal arts funding in the United States is something of a sore subject: in comparison to other places around the world, creatives in this country function in near-perpetual states of uncertainty, striving endlessly to be afforded the security of a grant or gallery representation," writes Helen Holmes in the Observer.

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October 14, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

Hyperallergic writes about the Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA), a new bipartisan bill in Congress that proposes a $300 million federal grants and commissions program for art workers. "The act is a joint effort between hundreds of cultural organizations to stimulate the creative economy through public art projects across the United States," states the article.

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October 8, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture announced artist and community organizer Patrisse Cullors has joined its Arts Commission, the LA County Board of Supervisors’ longstanding advisory body for the arts.

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September 20, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

A blog post published by the Wallace Foundation explains "Five Things State and District Leaders Need to Know Now" about the American Rescue Plan, the federal government’s third major COVID-19 relief bill that "provides nearly $2 trillion to support the nation’s efforts to reopen and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Included is more than $126 billion for K-12 schools and additional funding for early childhood and higher education."

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August 11, 2021 by admin

The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA), a bill to authorize and appropriate a $300 million modern WPA/CETA program for creative workers, was recently submitted to the clerk in the House.

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August 9, 2021 by admin

On June 21, 2021, AmeriCorps –the federal agency which provides support through funding and people power to more than 2,000 organizations across America and connects over 70,000 Americans each year to opportunities to engage in volunteer service to meet community needs – announced how it will use its $1 billion allocation in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to address ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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July 2, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

In a recent letter, members of the Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts state "AFTA has much work yet to do to repair the harm caused — most directly to BIPOC-led arts and culture organizations — by decades of gatekeeping and resource-hoarding, spearheaded by their senior leadership."

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April 21, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

"A bailout for live music and other event venues passed in the last relief bill. But one month after applications were scheduled to launch, they have not, and many venues are barely hanging on," reported recently NPR on the desperation of venue workers.

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