Are you an artist, performer or part of the creative work force? Do you vote? Election season is here and unfortunately you may hear artist friends saying, “I don’t vote. What difference does it make?” Or maybe you’ve found yourself wondering if your voice matters, if your vote matters. I believe every single voice matters and it’s up to us to use that voice to create the society we want to see. I’m Cristina Pacheco, the Director of Programs at Arts for LA where I train community arts advocates in areas of policy, leadership, coalition building, and communication. I’m also a musician and creative and I vote. I believe especially as artists we have a platform to use our platform to inspire others to action.
Arts for LA is launching our ArtsVote 2016 campaign. If you want some ideas on how to activate your voice, here is list from Arts for LA about why it’s not only important, but critical for all artists to get out there and exercise our civic duty!
1. Voting is a Freedom of Expression.
Like creative expression, voting is your choice, your decision, and your voice. Write a song. Paint a picture. Vote for your future. By voting, you are choosing a vision of the future. By voting, you also insure that the right to freedom of expression remains protected.
2. Voting is community.
By voting, individuals find themselves within a community of like-minded, engaged individuals. Not everyone agrees on everything, but voting unifies people around common goals & dreams. You may be an artist, but never forget you are a citizen too and part of a larger community that needs to hear your particular concerns and perspective. Talk to your friends and neighbors about the issues that matter to you. Civic engagement means you care about where you live and work.
3. Voting is being part of the solution.
By voting, you are participating not just in your future, but in our future. Elections determine courses of actions, policies, and programs that affect everyone – being part of that process is invaluable. Arts advocacy means voting for candidates that reflect your viewpoint as an artist and demonstrates to those in office that you know how to use the political process to build a country that values art and culture.
3. Voting is a right we need to protect.
Not everyone can vote, and there are policies at work that seek to limit how many people can vote. Only 1 in 5 eligible people vote in LA County – do you want your future determined by just 20% of the people?
5. Voting is power.
Officeholders pass policy, nominate commissions and pass budgets for city, state and national funding for the arts. Want to have more resources allocated to publicly funded arts agencies which translate to more opportunities for artists? Make sure your elected officials know you care about the arts and expect them to be informed about the creative economy and workforce development in the arts. With millennials making up the LARGEST voting bloc, as young people we have the power in our hands!
The ArtsVote Campaign is a multi-strategy campaign designed to engage residents, provide opportunities for public discourse, bolster volunteerism, and provide avenues for arts organizations to show their #ArtsVote power.
We achieve this through:
- Arts and Culture Candidate Surveys
- Arts and Cultural Candidate Forums
- Arts and Cultural Polling Places: Registering polling places, poll worker training
- Organization Training: H-Election, Non-profit electoral rights
- Legislation Tracking
- Get Out The Vote promotion
Partners include the LA County Registrar & Recorders Office, League of Women Voters, United Way, and promotional partners for surveys.
Support ArtsVote with a donation of any size – help us raise $25,000 by May 1.