In addition to representing the interests of the opera community before Congress, the White House and federal agencies, OPERA America encourages its members to take action and become arts advocates.
Visit the Performing Arts Alliance
website to communicate with members of Congress, access an Advocacy 101 Guide, read Rules on Inviting Members of Congress to Performances and Events, view the Congressional Voting Records and see Summaries of Current Legislative Issues.
Visiting your policy makers in Washington, DC and in their home districts is necessary and powerful advocacy. These meetings give opera advocates the opportunity to discuss the value of the arts and how the arts and your opera organization enrich communities.
Visiting Washington, D.C.?
Contact the OPERA America Government Affairs Office at 202-375-7523. We will schedule your meetings on the Hill, provide you with information and talking points and accompany you on your meeting.
Tips for In-Person Legislative Visits:
- Share relevant, personal stories. How has your organization benefited from NEA support? What community partnerships are you engaged in? Did arts education play a role in your childhood? How were you first exposed to the arts?
- Be prepared with talking points. What issues do you want to focus on in your meeting? Does the legislator sit on committees that oversee those issues? Most meetings are brief. Advance preparation will help you speak concisely and effectively.
- Be prepared with leave-behinds. Though many staffers attempt to take detailed notes, a leave-behind outlining your “ask” and reasons for the ask will ensure your message is passed on accurately to the legislator. In addition, feel free to leave a brochure on your organization’s programs and performances.
To find your elected officials, visit the Performing Arts Alliance
Opera advocates can engage in grassroots advocacy through three simple, yet powerful, methods:
Raise awareness of the impact of the arts on individual lives through informal peer-to-peer conversations. As part of the opera field, everyone around you should know and understand the impact of what you do, and why it enriches your life. Try to have informal conversations with unlikely peers, such as your child’s teacher, a local business person or a neighbor.
Audiences as Ambassadors
Integrate advocacy into your organization’s communications. By just including an advocacy message in the development and marketing work you are already doing, you can arm your audiences with advocacy facts and tips. For instance, a “Did you Know” advocacy sentence at the end of your marketing material, on your website, or as the signature to your office email is a great way to spread the word on the power of the arts. Inspire your audiences to engage in peer-to-peer conversations as well!
Singers as Advocates
Encourage singers and other staff in your opera organization to speak out and clearly communicate why opera matters. Both professional singers and singers in training alike may not realize the impact they can have if they speak effectively about the significance of the arts. Whether it’s during their training programs or even later in their careers, it’s never too late to engage singers as advocates.
Tips for Engaging Singers as Advocates:
- Share information with singers and administrative staff on how your organization impacts the community.
- Organize advocacy workshops with singers and staff.
- Invite singers to attend legislative meetings at the city, state and federal levels.
To join the Government Affairs Liaison Listserv or for more information on OPERA America’s advocacy activities, please contact OPERA America’s Government Affairs Office at 202-375-7523.