There’s No Time Like Late Summer to Connect with Your Elected Officials
Members of Congress spend recess at home in the district, offering artists a great opportunity to connect
Our Arts & Technology Policy Fellow, Courtney Duffy (@cduffy90), whose role is made possible through the generosity of the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, offers the merits of connecting with elected officials in the coming weeks, along with advocacy tips for artists who choose to do so.
I am writing this blog post from Washington, D.C., a city that is at its most quiet (and most humid!) during the month of August. Here’s why the District is so sleepy right now:
Congress is on summer vacation.
The Congressional fiscal year wrapped up a few weeks ago, and FY 17 is set to begin after Labor Day. You’ll notice this timing mirrors the academic year of many school systems. Congressional members and staffers, along with other players across the D.C. spectrum, often take these weeks to squeeze in quality time with family, friends, and constituents back home.
Election 2016 is mere weeks away.
This year’s Congressional recess is unique, as we are fast approaching the November 9 election. In addition to the presidential race, all members of the House of Representatives, who serve two-year terms, are on the ballot, along with 34 members of the Senate, who serve six-year terms and most recently won election in 2010.
Why does this matter to artists?
My colleague Adam Holofcener of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts put it well in my most recent blog post: “It is important that artists continue to do their part to organize around legislative issues at the federal level.”
We’ve involved Fractured Atlas members in the political process over the last several months. For example: this letter to the Federal Communications Commission about the importance of the internet to the arts community; this Capitol Hill panel advocating for a balanced copyright system; and this policy event on 3D printing and the arts. Fractured Atlas is working to create formalized advocacy resources for our members and others within the arts community, as well, and hope you will consider taking an active role as an arts advocate in the coming months.
In the meantime, the end of the summer is a great time to connect with these legislators — particularly those who are up for reelection — who will be looking for events to attend and businesses to visit in their districts. Connect with their offices and extend an invitation. Check on their websites for district and campaign events they’re scheduled to attend, and mark it on your calendar to attend. You don’t have to be a policy expert to convey to your representatives the importance of supporting arts-friendly policies that will benefit the communities they were elected to represent.
Not sure who represents you in Congress? Search your zip code with this handy resource to find out. Not sure how to contact your governor or mayor? There are resources for those inquiries, too. And check out this Fractured Atlas Live Stats page to see how many other artists are represented by your member of Congress.
About Fractured Atlas
Fractured Atlas is a nonprofit organization that helps over 1.2 million artists of all stripes with the business aspects of their work.