Statement of Values
Arts for LA affirms that the arts are critical to a healthy, prosperous society. Access to substantive arts and cultural experiences enriches the quality of life for both residents of and visitors to the greater Los Angeles region. We work to promote policies that uphold these values:
· The arts foster civic engagement, stimulate economic activity, and increase cultural empathy, and thus play a crucial role in sustaining thriving communities.
· Every resident deserves access to a variety of arts and cultural experiences, both in the major arts institutions and in neighborhood cultural centers and programs.
· Arts education is central to the development of all children and to ongoing creative engagement for people of all ages.
· Artists and arts organizations require a social environment that values and supports their contributions and encourages excellence.
· The breadth, depth, and diversity of artistic and cultural life are critical measures of the vitality of Los Angeles.
Arts for LA's involvement in this issue resulted in the passing of the "Arts at the Core" resolution three years later. Through advocacy and relationship building, the arts went from very nearly being eradicated, to being in a position to potentially become a core subject.
"Advocacy is about building bridges," Cristina said. She went on to say that advocacy isn't just about being critical of policy and policymakers, but is about respecting all sides of an issue and searching for innovative ways to meet the needs of all involved, about problem solving with creativity, "as opposed to thinking in terms of deficiency."
She also spoke about the Civic Engagement aspect of Arts for LA's Policy Framework which focuses on what individuals can do to impact the visibility of arts and culture to their communities, "An educated and informed voter base has the impact to change elections." Through the Civic Engagement Framework, Arts for LA conducts candidate surveys, providing nonpartisan information on candidates who are running for positions on the school board or city council, "Are candidates thinking about arts and culture as a platform?" She described it as proactive advocacy - creating relationships with people who make decisions in your community. "Most people want to support the arts in some way," she said. "The Arts have always been the lifeblood of community and civic life."
Cristina will speak more on civic engagement and proactive advocacy at the symposium at Inner-City Arts, Wednesday September 24, 2014.