Arts Day at the Indiana General Assembly

This stain-glass ceiling hovers above the Rotunda in the Indiana Statehouse.

  • This stain-glass ceiling hovers above the Rotunda in the Indiana Statehouse.

Now is the time to talk to legislators about arts funding. Arts Day 2011 will be at the statehouse Monday, Feb. 21, but rather than clutter the Atrium with booths, attendees will “Storm the Floor” in order to ask questions and advocate for the arts directly with legislators.

The Indiana Coalition for the Arts (ICA) has been hosting this event since 2006 to allow the public to combine forces and get legislators' attention.

This year the ICA has planned a meeting before the “storm” to further educate anyone in attendance on how to feel more comfortable speaking with legislators. Attorney Emily Heimann, of Barnes and Thornburg, will be presenting procedure in how to speak effectively to Senators and Representatives, as well as to their staffs.

“The more people in attendance the greater the impact,” Tetia Lee, president of the ICA, told NUVO.

By including this how-to meeting on the agenda, the ICA is hoping to attract a crowd that may have opted out simply because they were unsure of how to speak to government officials. Lee said some may find themselves tongue tied when speaking to their legislators, so the goal is to “build a comfort level.”

There are already 100 people registered for the event.

“People can go in a group from the same county or district,” said Lee. “They won’t have to go alone.”

Anyone in attendance is still encouraged to bring business cards and flyers. This will be an opportunity to meet and network with other individuals seeking a similar goal. The agenda for the day also includes the CALA awards that each year recognize Hoosier artists for their work in improving community through promoting arts.

This year's CALA winners are:

Arts Advocate: Sandi Clark, board member Lotus Foundation, Bloomington

Arts Administrator: Gayle Holtman, Executive Director VSA Indiana, Indianapolis

Arts Volunteer: Virgil Exner, Studebaker National Museum, South Bend

Arts Educator: Deena Laska Lewis, Artistic Director Children's Center for Dance Education, Evansville

ICA's Tetia Lee believes this event is the most effective way to thank legislators for their help as well as continuing to encourage and improve active support.

The ICA website has lists of legislators that attended the past three years, as well as a list of sponsors. You can also register at the event on that site as well.


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