Thirty-six delegates from the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), representing sixteen states, attended Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., last month, among them Raina Ames, associate professor of theatre at UNH. Ames is a member of the Association’s New Hampshire board and one of only five members nationally to receive the EdTA’s Hawkins Award this year. The $1,000 award is intended to encourage member advocacy efforts by defraying the cost of attending the annual event.
The 2017 Arts Advocacy Day, sponsored by Americans for the Arts, had record attendance, convening more than 700 people from cultural, civic and grassroots organizations across the country to push for strong public policies and financial support for the arts. The advocates were welcomed on Capitol Hill by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, among others, and met with State legislators to discuss the importance of the arts.
“People from both sides of the political divide have a stake in saving the arts, and that was so uplifting,” says Ames, who directs the theatre education program at UNH.
For Ames, one of the highlights of the experience was civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis’ address to the advocates.
“It was inspiring to see that after all he has been through, his integrity and sense of social justice still emanate from his entire being. If John Lewis could survive all that he has in his life and remain a stalwart defender of what is right, I can go visit my four state legislators and talk about the arts!”
The Educational Theatre Association is a national nonprofit organization with approximately 100,000 student and professional members dedicated to shaping lives through theatre education.