FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          Date: October 4, 2000

                                                                                                                        Contact: Lezli Austen

The Advocacy Project: Democracy in Action workshop at UIS

SPRINGFIELD – The Advocacy Project (TAP): Democracy in Action workshop will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, October 23, at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium. The workshop, sponsored by the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation (IAAF), is fifth in a series of 20 advocacy-training workshops to be hosted by IAAF in 2000 and 2001.

The IAAF has designed these free workshops to give current and future arts leaders the skills they need to build relationships with elected representatives through organized lobbying. Artists and representatives of arts organizations are invited to attend the workshop to meet IAAF’s leadership and talk with community leaders and UIS students.

“Artists, administrators, and board members of arts organizations need to know how to lobby at the local, state, and national levels,” said IAAF deputy director Julia Fabris. “We know that the arts are essential to quality of life, economic development, and the education of our children. We must gain confidence in our ability to influence public policy in support of greater access to the arts for the people of Springfield and other Illinois communities.”

Founded in 1982, IAAF supports the arts in Illinois. The state’s premier arts advocacy organization, IAAF and its sister organization, the Illinois Arts Alliance, have been vocal and effective champions for the arts around the state and in the nation’s capital.

“The IAAF is recognized for its innovative outreach and public education efforts,” said Hilary Frost-Kumpf, director of the community arts management concentration at UIS. “The organization plays an important role in the region’s civic landscape and holds a unique position at the intersection of arts, politics, and culture.”

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The Springfield workshop is co-hosted by Frost-Kumpf and John Dale Kennedy, director of the Sangamon Auditorium.

Alene Valkanas, IAAF executive director, will train participants in the basics of lobbying by using a presentation and handbook developed by the IAAF for The Advocacy Project.  She will also introduce a short video produced by the Washington D.C.-based Independent Sector about the appropriate and essential role that lobbying can play in helping non-profits achieve their missions. Valkanas will speak on “Democracy In action: Building relationships with your elected representatives” and Fabris will speak on “Putting it in to play: Starting your career as an arts lobbyist.”

The workshop concludes with a demonstration of a meeting with a legislator, opportunities for role-playing by participants, and a discussion of next steps for trained arts advocates.

            Registration and light refreshments for the workshop begin at 5:30 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. For more information, please contact Gabrielle Javier, director of communications, Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation at (312) 855-3105 or fabris@artsalliance.org.  You may also contact Hilary Frost-Kumpf, director of community arts management, at (217) 206-7373.

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