Advocacy Institute

ArtsGeorgia Advocacy-Leadership Initiative

At ArtsGeorgia, we embrace a broad definition of advocacy. Through our arts advocacy initiatives, our goal is to give ordinary people—who are passionate about and committed to the arts—the tools, skills and support they need to make them better arts advocates. We view arts advocacy as the practice through which the creative community can make their voices heard—not just through designated arts advocacy organizations or policy makers, but through individual approaches that work in their community.

ArtsGeorgia Advocacy & Leadership Institute

Advocacy is the primary tool through which ArtsGeorgia plans to enable, empower and encourage citizens to become involved.  When citizens advocate, they express their concerns and priorities, press for recognition of their rights, and insist on the importance of their voice in determining public policy, not just about levels of  funding,  but about the delivery of programs and services. Because nonprofit arts organizations are the most direct means for citizens to actively participate in the public sphere, ArtsGeorgia’s initiatives will place an emphasis on increasing the capacity of the nonprofit creative sector, their directors, administrators, members, patrons and volunteers through collaborations with specific goals and action plans.

Finding and nurturing advocacy or leadership in ordinary people with passion and commitment is at the core of ArtsGeorgia’s advocacy work. We intend to start with advocacy, then include a leadership component. We will do this through training programs as well as through hands-on coaching in which we provide our partners—artists, arts educators, nonprofit and government officials alike—with expert assistance designed to address their needs. Often this coaching takes place over the course of several months or years, in recognition that it takes time to create real and lasting change.

In 2014-2015, ArtsGeorgia is planning to conduct a series of three Advocacy Institute Programs. Each program addressing advocacy will bring individuals together around developing a single advocacy vision combining classroom learning and introductions to legislators, strategy sessions with advocate-peers, and an in-depth exploration of aspects for policy context relevant to specific arts issues. The immersive experience away from day-to-day workplace pressures offers participants a much-needed opportunity to reflect on their own advocacy experiences to work towards becoming more effective with new tools, skills, approaches and their own style.

Who we Are

ArtsGeorgia’s mission includes “strengthening advocacy”.  We are interested in developing the power of citizens to transform their communities. Our approach prefers that solutions emerge from within the community, rather than being imposed from the outside. By combining technical expertise, tools and hands-on practice for leadership and advocacy training with strategic investments in local artists, patrons, arts educators and arts organizations, we plan to spark creative solutions and lasting change that will benefit the arts for years to come.

Since our founding in 2010, ArtsGeorgia has introduced transformative advocacy initiatives with the ArtWorks custom license plate, the Enjoy/Support the Arts bumper strips and publication of the state’s first ever Arts Advocacy Handbook.  We achieved recognition for our multiyear Restore State Art Funds – The Time is Now! Campaign, with a Joint Statement by three state arts service organizations in October, 2013 demanding an increase in state support for the arts.

What we want

We want people involved in shaping their future and we want to cultivate local talent—enabling people to become strong advocates and effective leaders in their communities.

We believe in the power of communities—and their ability to help themselves grow stronger, healthier, more stable, more prosperous and to grow their cultural institutions. We know that every community has within it the ability to find creative solutions to complex problems, and we want to help people realize this potential. We will work to build programs and capacity from the bottom-up leaving a legacy of advocacy and leadership as well as enduring results.

Bringing together best practices from the public and private sector, ArtsGeorgia will use creative, flexible training and mentoring to help advocates produce breakthrough results.

We will build on our track record in helping communities identify their arts advocates and leaders and we will provide training and support.

How you can help

Support ArtsGeorgia.  Around Georgia, passionate, committed arts lovers and those in the creative industries are doing what they can to transform their communities—often against great odds. The ArtsGeorgia Advocacy and Leadership Institute will help them realize what’s possible.

We need your help.

Become a Donor – Support ArtsGeorgia with a tax-deductible contribution. Make a donation now, quarterly or monthly to ArtsGeorgia, for whatever amount you’d like. Each January, we will send a tax receipt confirming your total contributions made during the previous year.

Become a Member – Visit to renew or establish your membership.


The 2015-2016 ArtsGeorgia Advocacy and Leadership Institute sessions will be two-day intensive, hands-on training designed to build advocacy skills and knowledge about the role of government and public institutions, an overview policy issues and planning for local advocacy initiatives. Applications to the program are accepted from Board Chairs and Executive Directors of Georgia nonprofit arts organizations.  A group of 10-12 participants will be selected to attend Sessions in Atlanta, where ArtsGeorgia board members and experienced arts advocates will teach and impart skills to enhance advocacy on behalf of the arts.

The goals of this Institute training sessions are to:

  • Cultivate a deeper understanding of the frameworks involved in shaping cultural policy, and its impact on decisions affecting artistic production, funding and growth;
  • Provide tools, publications, research and instruction on advocacy protocols and strategies;
  • deliver immersion training via preparatory research and assignments, instruction, site visits and consultations;
  • develop competencies for meaningful communication with local and state elected officials, and with national congressional representatives and staff;
  • build relationships and initiate dialogue with policy makers to promote understanding of the arts needs while asserting the role of the arts in sustaining viable communities;
  • equip Alumni with the necessary tools to lead proactive efforts in their respective communities, and to deliver effective messages to help broaden support for the arts; and,
  • nurture Alumni as an engaged group of active arts sector advocates.


This training is limited to participants from Georgia nominated by Board Chairs or Executive Directors of nonprofit arts organizations.  Ten to twelve nominees will be selected to attend through a panel review process.At the time a nominee is selected:

  • Nominees must be a an employee or board member of a Georgia arts nonprofit; and
  • Nominators must be an Individual or Organizational Member of ArtsGeorgia.


Nominations must be submitted via email to no later than the following deadline for each session. Include name

Session I.  2015:     August 31, 2015
Session II. 2016:     December 31, 2015
Session III. 2016:    March 31, 2016


The ArtsGeorgia Advocacy and Leadership Institute curriculum is based on developing the capacity and potential of artists, cultural workers, and patrons to shape arts policy on the local, state, and national stage. This lens will provide the framework for all Institute presentations, discussions, and exercises. Topics and activities during the sessions will include:

  • Art and Community Building
  • Finding Your Legislators and Elected Officials
  • Georgia General Assembly Visits
  • Legislative Process and State Budget Overview
  • State and National Advocacy Organizations
  • State and National Arts Advocacy Efforts
  • Americans for the Arts Annual Advocacy Day
  • Preparation and Advice for Legislative Visits
  • Successful Advocacy Models, Tools and Skills