By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota
One of the key roles of Arts South Dakota is to encourage South Dakotans to speak out in support of the arts. We call it arts advocacy—but it is really just telling positive stories about the many ways the arts make a difference in your life.
It’s really not hard to think of the ways creativity and cultural awareness positively impact our communities. In some places, our artistic and cultural heritage becomes the touchstone for community celebrations, from wacipis to Czech Days to the century-old Black Hills Roundup. Spend a few minutes reflecting on what makes your community unique and I’ll bet the arts are at the center.
In many SD communities, professional artists are working alongside local residents to create lasting murals that celebrate their town. These hometown art works are something everyone is proud of—and through the inclusion of students, they strengthen local school creative programs. Another vital story to share is the work of arts organizations that bring local residents together to plan the future of their communities—and to build volunteerism on the local level. The stories are there—we just need to share them.
An obvious place for sharing is social media. Are you telling your community’s creative stories on Facebook, or pushing out pictures of local arts events on Instagram? Link your social media posts to #StateOfCreate to share your arts inspirations. Does your local newspaper cover the arts and culture at least monthly? And, perhaps most important this time of year, as the future of our state is shaped in Pierre, are you reminding your legislator how important the arts are to South Dakota—and to YOU? Join us in Pierre on February 12 for Arts Advocacy Day at the Legislature!
We need to be telling these stories and building relationships with media, with neighbors and with legislators constantly. That’s how the arts will thrive in South Dakota—with local voices telling our stories. For more information about how you can add your voice to others sharing creative stories, check out our website at www.ArtsSouthDakota.org.