Meeting With Your Legislators
Oklahoma Arts Day at the State Capitol doesn’t just show off the variety and depth of arts organizations in our state, it’s also a chance to begin or continue relationships with your elected officials.
Please take the time to visit your legislators to inform them about how public funding for the arts affects you and your community.
Tips for Meeting With Legislators:
Find your State Senators and Representatives:
Call the legislators’ offices to ask for an appointment (switchboard 405-524-0126):
-You may talk to the executive or legislative assistant or the legislator directly.
-Introduce yourself and that you are a constituent.
-Explain that you’ll be attending Oklahoma Arts Day with hundreds of other arts supporters in support of public funding for the arts and arts education and would like to share information about how public funding for the arts and arts education is affecting their constituents.
-If he/she is unable to meet, offer to drop off information and invite the legislator and executive assistant to tour the displays in the 4th Floor Rotunda. If nothing else, you dropping by to say thanks and let them know you care means lot!
-Oklahomans for the Arts will have special packets for each legislator. If you schedule a meeting, let OFTA know and we will have you deliver the Oklahoma Arts Day packet.
Duncan arts leaders with Rep. Johnson
Of course each meeting may be different, but prepare information and who will speak in advance.
Meetings should be short, plan for fewer than 20 minutes (usually more like 5). The time goes fast! Practice your presentation. Focus on one personal story/example, keep it positive, and keep the focus on the importance of public funding for the arts and arts education.
Introduce yourself if you don’t already know your legislator
Hello, my name is [Full Name]. I live in [City or Community], [District #] and work/teach [Job Title] at [Organization/School].
Data + Story
Provide an example from your own experiences. Address any of the following: the impact of Oklahoma Arts Council funding on your organization or life, how arts funding affects your community, school or organization. Highlight your connection to the arts – as a board member, parent, teacher and/or community member.
Also, how does public funding for the arts further the economic development, educational and health goals of the state? For example, you could talk about how the arts increase economic prosperity, provide jobs, improve Oklahoma’s competitiveness, etc.
Conclusion: The “ASK”
Ask for the legislator’s support for the Oklahoma Arts Council, arts education and public art. Thank that legislator if he/she commits continued support. Invite the legislator to an arts/community event in the district when out of session. Be respectful and thank the legislator for his/her time!
Resources for Preparing:
- Focus on your local story and why the arts are important! You don’t have to speak for the whole field or solve the state’s problems.
- Review and tailor your favorite talking points.
- How the Oklahoma Arts Council serves communities across our state with seed funding and support services: 2014 Impact Report
- Why support the arts?
Again, even if you just drop by the office to say thanks and let them know you care about arts and cultural heritage in our state, your time is very worth it!