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.

April 6, 2021 by admin

Just societies cannot grow in toxic soil. To build regenerative communities, we should look to how life flourishes in the natural world, of which we are an inherent part.

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January 21, 2021 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

An article in The Washington Post discusses a movement of arts workers that "asserts that the arts are as foundational as farming or manufacturing" with "an aim reinforced daily by the financial devastation the coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the nation’s creative economy."

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November 20, 2020 by admin

The full transcript of this podcast is published below.
Explore the full GIA podcast.

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June 22, 2020 by admin

As the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to take their toll, Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) has expanded its ongoing advocacy work to consider approaches and resources arts and cultural organizations truly need for robust, equitable recovery from this crisis.

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May 28, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

"What should arts advocates say and do now? How can they reconceive their own roles to point to the deeper reasons for arts funding? How can they speak to the moment, rather than repeat tired and failed arguments?" asks Arlene Goldbard in a recent blog post.

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May 21, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

A group of philanthropic and nonprofit leaders is asking Congress to increase the mandatory payout rate for private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs) to 10 percent, to help address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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April 14, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

Assembly Bill 5, a California law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2020, impacts contract workers, including artists. A research paper breaks down the law and its effects on businesses of all types throughout California, including the nonprofit arts and culture sector. A recent agreement, however, signals this law could soon be adjusted to exempt music professionals.

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March 9, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

Under New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the city's first black woman mayor, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. (NOTMC), hopes it will be able to provide grants to cultural organizations, nola.com reported recently.

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February 10, 2020 by Carmen Graciela Díaz

The federal administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget, released on Monday, would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as Americans for the Arts informed.

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August 20, 2019 by Nadia Elokdah

In July, funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) was eliminated using a line-item budget veto in a decision by governor Mike Dunleavy, who took office in December. Alaska lawmakers fell short in attempts to override the vetoes, explained AP.

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