At the heart of advocacy is the simple act of telling your story. Arts advocates can make a difference by sharing with decision makers what matters to you and the work you do in the arts. Your elected leaders want to hear from the people they represent and how the arts add value to your life and community. Nonprofits are important players as the government seeks the views of the nonprofit service sector, representatives at all levels love to hear about what is working for their constituents and what they care about. Advocating for the arts can take many forms from talking directly to your State Legislators and United States Congressmen and Senators to inviting your Mayor and other municipal leaders to your events. Leaders are always happy to hear from their constituents about things happening in their districts.
The Mississippi Arts Commission strives to provide free educational resources to you but we encourage you to make your efforts your own! You know your story better than anyone and we are always happy to hear about your own creative ways to tell your arts impact stories!
Arts Advocacy for Mississippi Webinar
The webinar above took place March 10, 2022, as part of programming surrounding Arts Day 2022. Sarah Story, executive director of MAC, and other experts discuss how you can become an advocate for funding for the arts in Mississippi.
Who represents me?
In Mississippi, you are represented by representatives at the state capitol who convene in the early part of every year in Jackson as well as representatives at the national level in D.C. Members of the state legislature determine funding for the arts in Mississippi while federal leaders support national arts funding such as support the National Endowment for the Arts. While annual opportunities are offered (Arts Day: State Legislators, Arts Advocacy week: Congressmen and U.S. Senators), you can reach out to your representatives anytime throughout the year. As Mississippi citizens, you can easily find out who represents you and schedule time with them to express your love for the arts and the impact the arts make in your life and community.
The Mississippi State Legislature
Each person in Mississippi has two Legislators who represent your district (determined by your street address), these include a representative in the state house and a representative in the state senate.
To find your Mississippi State Legislators, you can enter your street address at: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator
- House District numbers are 1-122. The State House of Representatives is identified as the Lower Chamber.
- Senate District numbers are 1-52. The State Senate is identified as the Upper Chamber.
Legislators are always happy to meet with those in their districts! You can learn more about your legislators including the committees on which they serve, room numbers at the Mississippi State House (Capitol building in Jackson) and their contact information. Click HERE to find a list of Mississippi House of Representatives and HERE to find a list of Mississippi Senators.
The United States Congress
The United States Congress has two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Each citizen in Mississippi is represented by one Representative (who represent their congressional district) and two Senators (who both represent the entire state).
Mississippi’s Senators are:
- Senator Roger Wicker: https://www.wicker.senate.gov/
- Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith: https://www.hydesmith.senate.gov/
*Mississippi Senators represent the entire state of Mississippi*
To find whose Congressional District you live in, you can enter your street address at: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
Mississippi’s Congressmen (U.S. House of Representatives) are:
The Power of the Arts
As you get to know who represents you, you can let your Legislators, Congressmen and Senators know about your arts events and show them how the arts impact your life and community.
Tell YOUR story of the arts
Many representatives enjoy the arts and appreciate the impact of the arts in Mississippi and they want to know about great work in their districts. If they are supportive of your work, thank them for their support of the arts!
“Show-me-Events” can be extremely successful in building a relationship with your representative. This is an opportunity to invite them to see and experience the work of your organization or how you contribute to Mississippi as an individual working in the arts. Show-me-Events can range from inviting leaders to an event such as a play or performance, a children’s arts education program, celebration, ceremony or even ongoing project. If you have regular ongoing events, consider initiating your Legislators, Congressmen, Senators and their local staff to become regular attendees to see your work in action!
Remember, MAC, as a state agency is able to provide educational information about the impact of the arts and our work, but YOU are the best story-teller about what the arts mean to you!
There are many national resources that provide information on arts impact. One of these organizations is Americans for the Arts who regularly informs the public with facts and figures.
You can learn more about their work at: https://www.americansforthearts.org/advocate
The National Endowment for the Arts is the federal government’s agency for promotion of the arts across the nation.
Learn more about their work at: https://www.americansforthearts.org/advocate
The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies believes that the arts are fundamental to the cultural, civic, economic and educational well-being of a thriving democracy.
Learn more about their work and resources at: https://nasaa-arts.org/advocacy/#advocacy_tools_container
Learn more about the impact of federal dollars on the arts in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Arts Commission is the state government’s agency whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for the arts and is the official grants-making and service agency for the arts in the state. MAC is funded annually by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and private funds.
As a public agency, MAC is required to posts its public funding documents online; you can access MAC’s impact reports, strategic plan and public funding documents by visiting: https://arts.ms.gov/who-we-are/annual-report-budget-request/
Enjoy a highlight of past Arts Day at the Capitol events.