Translate

Arts Advocacy

Some tips, strategies, and resources to get you started:

First Find Your Representatives and get to know them and what they support. You can write letters directly to them, schedule in person visits and call the office to let them know your stance on any number of issues that concern the arts.
state elected

Find your Supervisor & Local Elected

If you live in an unincorporated area, you have field representatives designated by the district you live in; for San Bernardino COunty, there are five districts, each with a Supervisor that oversees that region.
local california government

Office of the
Governor

Keep in touch Governor Newsroom and his platform. Write him a letter, call.
Find Your Legislature

Find Your
Legislature

Search the web site here for state representatives National

Current legislation we are tracking

Great overview of how this affects arts and culture serving businesses and non profits is provided here by Californians for the Arts’ Executive Director, Julie Baker:

According to the IRS, 38% of employers in the U.S. misclassify workers as independent contractors; so in one out of three cases, the employment classification is wrong

According to SMU Data Arts Research data set dated October 17, 2019

Number of nonprofits arts orgnization in CA: 3,391

Number of independent contractors working at the total number of arts organizations: 131,514

Number of total employees working at the total number of arts organizations: 449,900

Over the course of the legislative session, CFTA and our partner lobbying organization California Arts Advocates worked to educate the legislature on how our industry operates, why it is of benefit to many classifications of artists to remain independent contractors, if for no other reason to retain their intellectual property rights, and how many nonprofit arts organizations can only provide much needed services in their communities on thin margins with artists as independent contractors. We built and drafted our case and with the aid of lawyers and some key legislative staff we lobbied for our exemptions to the Senate labor Committee. In the end, when the bill was signed into legislation by Governor Newsom on September 18th, only one exemption was listed for artists and that was for “Fine Artists”. It is not all that we asked for or wanted but it has opened the door. Many have asked how does the law define “Fine Artists” and it is based on this BLS designation and pertains to visual and crafts artists. In truth, this exemption was included because there are no labor unions for fine artists but there are unions for musicians, performing and teaching artists, and for the most part they support the tenets of the Dynamex decision.

So, where does this leave the arts industries in CA? How will this affect your programs going forward? Will artists lose their intellectual property rights to employers? How many artists are currently employed as independent contractors who will now need to be employees? Will this fundamentally alter how we do business? Many questions are left unanswered and with uncertainty on how to proceed. In the interest of seeking clarity for the field, we will be holding forums to discuss the implications of AB5 and the Dynamex decision (look for these events to be announced soon). We are looking for resources and gathering additional data on what is the broader implication of this decision. What is clear is this is a complicated issue. On one hand, we all want to see the arts and artists valued and uplifted and for workers to be treated justly with fair compensation and benefits. On the other hand, many facets of our industry are built on a seasonal, by performance, by classroom model that does not fit into the structure of the common employment model and many arts providers are small nonprofit organizations that cannot afford to transition everyone to payroll.

What is also clear is that this is not the last you will hear of AB5. In a letter to the journal, post bill signing on September 13, Assm. Gonzalez writes, “In an effort to provide as much certainty as possible moving forward, I am committed to working collaboratively with the labor and business communities to develop additional language regarding the applicability of Dynamex in 2020 and to pursue legislation that further clarifies the law.”

We need your help to understand the impact and inform our legislators of the needs of the arts sector(s).

Please take a minute to fill out this Brief Survey. Or Follow and support Californians for the Arts to keep track on all current legislation and budgetary issues that affects the arts in our state.

Resources to support advocacy issues:

Californians for
the Arts

California Arts
Council

National Art Education Association

Local Advocacy Coalitions (California Alliance for Arts Education)
Be A Leader for Arts Education Guide (CCESA and California Parent Teacher Association)
The California Arts Project – Keep track of the California standards for arts education and professional development trainings in your area.
The Advocacy resource – “10 important things to know about Art Education in CA”

Other Resources

Toolkit: Advocacy for Individuals (Americans for the Arts)

Toolkit: Advocacy for Organizations (Americans for the Arts)

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is what you are already doing; lobbying is a narrowly defined activity with a few easy-to-follow limits.

Advocacy is …

telling your nonprofits story to a potential funder, talking to a reporter or editor about the organization’s impact in the community, and encouraging local civic groups to send volunteers to a local community event (e.g., park or river cleanup). It can also mean telling your story of impact to government officials, educating policymakers about your work and sharing your expertise in helpful ways.

Here is this definition developed by Alliance for Justice:

While all lobbying is advocacy, not all advocacy is lobbying. Advocacy is any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. It includes public education, regulatory work, litigation, and work before administrative bodies, lobbying, nonpartisan voter registration, nonpartisan voter education, and more.

In short, advocating for your mission encompasses just about every form of communications a nonprofit can do. Lobbying, on the other hand, is very narrow.

What is Lobbying?

Lobbying is …

Communicating with decision makers (elected officials and staff; voters on ballot measures), about existing or potential legislation, and urging a vote for or against. All three components of this definition are required: decision makers, actual legislation, AND asking for a vote.

According to the Internal Revenue Service,

Legislation includes action by Congress, any state legislature, any local council, or similar governing body, with respect to acts, bills, resolutions, or similar items (such as legislative confirmation of appointive office), or by the public in referendum, ballot initiative, constitutional amendment, or similar procedure. It does not include actions by executive, judicial, or administrative bodies.” In the eyes of the IRS, “An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

Send me art news and opportunities!