During my recent trip to Washington DC, I was immediately struck by how different the tone is in DC than here in Los Angeles. I was there with delegates from 10 western states for WESTAF (Western Arts Federation) to meet with elected officials. I was able to meet with Representatives Nanette Barragan (44th District), Lucille Roybal-Allard (40th District), and Adam Schiff (28th District). The uncertainty over the Administration's next actions is palpable, but so too is the determination of our representatives to tackle whatever challenges emerge, to work diligently and creatively, and to ensure our democratic values are upheld despite the shifting landscape. I left DC confident that our representatives are hearing our concerns and working to address them.
As reports have circulated about the potential defunding of the NEA (as well as the NEH and Corporation for Public Broadcasting), an urgency to take action has emerged. Unfortunately, attacks on the NEA are nothing new, and strong advocacy efforts have succeeded in protecting the agency over the last two decades. One of the best defenses of the NEA is that it funds projects in every Congressional district and throughout rural communities. Every elected official our delegation met with expressed an absolute commitment to protecting the NEA. It was heartening to witness such strong, bipartisan support for the NEA and to hear that our elected representatives have a deep understanding of the value NEA-funded projects and programs bring to communities across the country.
Locally, we have a number of elections coming up in Los Angeles County, and we have been hard at work surveying all of the candidates. Early survey responses are coming in, so please check your local race to see if your candidates have responded (see more below).
To make it easier for you to get involved, we have created a new resource, What You Can Do Right Now, with actions you can take in this moment at the local, state, and federal level. This page will be updated regularly as new opportunities for civic engagement emerge. Let us know if you have a pressing agenda or issue we should know about. We can help connect you to other advocates, build coalitions, create a convening to address the issues, and launch a campaign to reach elected officials. Together, we can remain informed and ready to be mobilized.
Executive Director, Arts for LA