The third annual Arts Advocacy Day at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. March 6 at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. The events are free and open to the public.
The goal of the event is to celebrate student artwork and expose the university community to statewide arts advocacy effort.
There will be an arts advocacy station, offering information on Nebraskans for the Arts and materials to help participants write letters in support of the arts to their state representatives.
In addition, there will also be an arts education advocacy booth featuring members of University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Chapter of the National Association for Music Educators, as well as a booth promoting upcoming Hixson-Lied College events.
Skyler Dykes, a music and French senior, came up with the idea for this annual event after an assignment in her English course titled “Writing and Communities” during her sophomore year.
“One of my assignments in this course was to write a research paper exploring two sides of a current debate in the U.S. As a music major, I chose to write about the debate over federal funding for the arts,” Dykes said. “In 2017, the current administration threatened to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, sparking a great deal of outrage from arts advocates. However, federal funding for the arts has a long history of coming under scrutiny in the U.S., making arts advocacy work particularly important. While examining this topic, I realized I had never been asked to consider from where funding for the arts comes or why it might be important to engage with government officials as an artist. Let alone, how to do so. This realization led me to coordinate the first Arts Advocacy Day at UNL.”
Since its first year, the event has been a collaboration between University of Nebraska–Lincoln artists and Nebraska’s arts advocacy organization, Nebraskans for the Arts.
“The event serves as an opportunity for members of the UNL community and Lincoln community to learn about arts advocacy efforts state and nationwide,” Dykes said. “This includes information on arts funding and extends to arts policy initiatives, such as developing an AmeriCorps artist corps, charitable giving tax incentives, or this year in the state of Nebraska, establishment of cultural districts. In an election year, when many people will be attending campaign events and meeting with political candidates, it is especially important to learn about these efforts and how to incorporate them into conversations with elected officials, or government hopefuls.”
The event also serves as a celebration of student art work across disciplines in the Hixson-Lied College.
“In previous years, performances have included Lazzi Improv, UNL Dance, Nebraska Steel, Cinema 16 short films, various a cappella groups, and presentations about arts education advocacy,” Dykes said. “By formatting the event this way, I’m hoping to convey a message that the arts are worth fighting for and the artwork created by students in our college demonstrates why.”
There will be several performances scheduled throughout the event. The schedule this year is:
- 5 to 5:20 p.m. — Nebraska Steel
- 5:20 to 5:40 p.m. — Lazzi Improv
- 5:40 to 6 p.m. — Flyover New Music Showcase
- 6 to 7 p.m. — DanceUNL
- 7 to 7:20 p.m. — Bathtub Dogs
- 7:20 to 7:40 p.m. — Short Film Showcase
- 7:40 to 8 p.m. — Lincoln Chamber Music