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Arts Advocacy Day 2012: The Congressional Arts Kick-Off

Our Arts Advocacy 2012 advocates at the Congressional Arts Kick-Off.

It’s difficult to write an event recap post when you are still energized/exhausted as a staff member often can be following 48 hours of festivities surrounding Arts Advocacy Day, but I will certainly try.

Following last night’s Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy by Alec Baldwin, the Congressional Arts Kickoff brought together our 500+ arts advocates in the Cannon Caucus Room alongside our artist-advocates and friends from Ovation and elected officials stopping by to express their support for the arts.

Armed with my smartphone in one hand and a flip cam in the other (several flip cams actually—batteries drain very quickly in those things), I witnessed an outpouring of support and passion for the arts like I have never seen (including an amazing performance by VSA artist Alicia Ucciferri).

In addition to our own President & CEO Bob Lynch and Ovation Chairman Ken Solomon (and encouraging words from Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Todd Platts and Rep. Rosa DeLauro) the following artist-advocates took to the podium to give brief remarks:

  • Hill Harper (“I’m an arts advocate and I vote”)
  • Nigel Lythgoe (“I believe you’re losing your musical heritage”)
  • Alec Baldwin (“I’ll be having lunch with Rocco [Landesman] to talk about using the profits from Book of Mormon to settle the national debt”)
  • Pierre DuLaine (“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the republicans and democrats to dance together?”)
  • Melina Kanakaredes (“If it wasn’t for the NEA in Akron, OH, where I grew up, I never would have gotten my start”) 
  • Omar Benson Miller (“When I was a little boy, my mother used to take me to movies…Unfortunately for her we had an alternating system where I would choose one and she would choose one”)
  • Johnathon Schaech (“I can’t believe there are opponents to what we’re speaking about here”)
  • Tiffani Thiessen (“Public schools are not offering the same artistic outlets our kids are so desperately needing”)
  • Clay Walker (“The arts can facilitate learning and behavior for [kids] to grow up and be more productive adults”)
  • Ben Folds (“If you’re a parent you don’t need the data show you how important arts education is because anyone that wants to teach a child knows you have to be well-balanced”).

We’ll have more quotes, videos, and pictures to come on ARTSblog over the next week or so, so make sure to return for more in-depth interviews with Alec Baldwin & Nigel Lythgoe (together at last), Hill Harper (we even asked him about his recent pro/celebrity car race), and Tiffani Thiessen.

In the meantime, it’s not too late to celebrate Arts Advocacy Day by sending a message to your members of Congress and/or by tweeting or following all of the events by searching the #AAD12 hashtag on Twitter.

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