Arizona Citizens for the Arts Step Into Politics

Arizona Citizens for the Arts Step Into Politics
Arizona Citizens for the Arts
Unlike gun violence, education funding, or tax policy, arts and culture issues don't really demand attention or ignite fire in the voting members of our society. However, Arizona Citizens for the Arts want to tell you that the arts are important to our community, and they serve vital roles in more ways than you might think.

The arts advocacy group recently launched a "VotesmART" campaign, which will provide information about "how to register to vote and obtain an absentee ballot, the arts and culture issues impacted by elections, and how candidates feel about those issues," according to Catherine Foley, AzCA's executive director.

On their VotesmART website, you can look at candidates' answers to a survey created by AzCA regarding policy for Arizona arts and culture. They sent the survey to all candidates running for governor and the 90 seats in the State Legislature. Foley said that their survey doesn't declare any right or wrong answers, but tries to put arts and cultural issues into the context of other statewide issues and see how candidates view the role of the arts in improving our quality of life.

Contact information for any candidates who didn’t respond to the survey is listed on the website, along with suggested questions that you can ask them directly.

Their main point: Arts and cultural projects matter in our daily lives and for the development of future generations.

The website explains how the non-profit arts and culture industry brings in $166 billion every year nationwide. That includes job opportunities in local tourism and other related industries. In Arizona alone, arts non-profits employ more than 13,000 people.

Foley said that the benefits of arts education for young people’s ability to learn, problem solve and think strategically is well-known, and Arizona’s education policy requires arts to be taught in all of our K-8 schools.

"Unfortunately, we know many schools are not meeting that goal. The issue for elected officials is how do we solve this problem for the benefit of all of our children,” she said.

VotesmART also has information about how other business, civic and community organizations view our candidates and the upcoming elections. AzCA expects to upload additional information about elections before the general election in November.