I use my website almost exclusively to communicate apolitical information about my music projects (although you can find more of my activist comments on Twitter). That said, today, which is both Bach's Birthday and National Arts Advocacy Day, is perhaps the one major exception. With the proposed abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, it is incumbent upon artists everywhere to reach out to their representatives in congress and speak up about the arts.
I wrote a letter to my representative with the Help of the California Symphony's excellent Advocacy Toolkit. The League of American Orchestras offers a complimentary representative locator tool that you can use to find your representative. Here's my letter, followed by a link to download as a PDF:
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The Honorable Rep. Elijah E. Cummings
1010 Park Avenue, Suite 105
Baltimore, MD 21201
Dear Representative Cummings,
I am writing to urge you to support FY17 and FY18 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA is a critical component in the network of public, private, corporate, and philanthropic support. Total direct grants by the agency are anticipated to reach more than 33 million people attending live arts events through NEA-supported programs. Grants to orchestras build innovative and civically vibrant communities such as ours by supporting arts education for children and adults, providing citizen access to performances, preserving great classical works, and nurturing the creative endeavors of contemporary classical musicians, composers, and conductors.
Symphony Number One, a new chamber orchestra in Baltimore devoted to performing substantial works by emerging Baltimore and international composers, thrives because we live within a context of a thriving performing arts environment here in Baltimore. This would not be possible without upstream support for the NEA. I would like to personally invite you to attend our next concert, on April 28th and 29th, 8 PM, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church (811 Cathedral St) to demonstrate the impact of the arts on our city.
An NEA grant helps leverage additional forms of support — a dollar invested by the NEA is matched by more than $9 from other state, local, and private sources, magnifying the impact of the federal investment. As your constituent, I urge you to support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Investments in the arts strengthen our local economy and improve the quality of life in our community. Thank you for your support!
Jordan Randall Smith
Founder and Music Director
Symphony Number One