Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a dance lecturer at the University of Texas Arlington. She also serves as assistant director of UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble.
With the upcoming Dallas City Council decision to be made regarding a proposed 55 percent cut in direct funding for arts programming, the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC) is calling for patrons of the arts to come together and make their voices heard.
Not sure how? DACAC has a few recommendations:
- Attend several budget town hall meetings and urge your friends to also attend one or more meetings. You can attend any of the meetings, not just those in your district.
- Fill out the city’s questionnaire regarding public art and make support for arts and culture your No. 1 priority.
- Write or e-mail the mayor, city manager and Dallas City Council. Place special emphasis on your council member.
- Attend Arts Advocacy Day on Aug. 17.
Last year, the support of the citizens of Dallas helped to keep the Office of Cultural Affairs alive and kept it a free-standing organization. The great attendance at last year’s Arts Advocacy Day helped to increase awareness of the relevancy of the arts in Dallas and showed the city how much they mean to its livelihood.
Presented by the Cultural Affairs Commission, City of Dallas and the DACAC, Arts Advocacy Day is an opportunity for everyone interested in the arts to learn more about effective advocacy and the economic impact of the arts. This year’s event features two seminars: one on the efficacy of advocacy – the do’s and don’t’s – and one on how to use the media for effective advocacy. The keynote speaker is Dr. Ray Perryman.
Perryman is a noted economist and author of a definitive economic impact study on the arts in Texas, “The Arts, Culture, and the Texas Economy.” Arts commentators and political writers, including myself (his study was the basis for the Texas case study in my book The Politics of State Public Arts Funding), have cited his work. He was recently honored by the Texas Legislature for his “tireless efforts in helping to build a better Texas” and is a wealth of knowledge and advice when it comes to public advocacy of the arts.
A focus of both Perryman and other Texan arts advocates is the economic impact of cultural heritage tourism. The state has been developing this specific type of tourism by incorporating the efforts of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). One of the major considerations behind the aggressive promotion of tourism, and the building of new arts centers, is the fact that arts tourists, on average, spend significantly more than other types of tourists. In Texas, cultural and heritage tourists are spend approximately $103.50 per day, compared to the $81.20 per day spent by general leisure travelers.
The arts do contribute to the health of a city’s economy, specifically by increasing an interest in tourists. To keep visitors coming to the Big D, the arts have to stay alive, and they need funding and public support to do so.
Only 150 tickets are available for the event and it is expected to sell out, so tickets may not be available at the door. The DACAC recommends reserving tickets in advance. They are currently available online and only cost $35 (which includes lunch and all seminar materials).