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Arts Advocacy Day: Telling the value of the arts

Posted On Mar 6, 2024, 16:31 PM by Erica Schumann

Erica Schumann and Joan Squires presenting at Arts Advocacy Day

On February 20, 2024, O-pa participated in Arts Advocacy Day. This annual event provides a forum for arts advocates to engage with their elected representatives and discuss the importance of arts access across the state of Nebraska. The event took place in Lincoln at the Nebraska State Capitol.

During the 2024 program, O-pa President Joan Squires and Capital Campaign and Grants Administrator Erica Schumann participated in a panel titled, “Using Economic Data to Tell Your Story.” Troy Gagner of the Lincoln Arts Council also participated in the panel with moderator Lance Nielsen, Executive Director of Nebraskans for the Arts.

During the panel discussion, Squires and Schumann presented data from O-pa’s recent Economic Impact report, highlighting the organization’s $61 million annual economic impact. During the panel, they also emphasized the importance of the arts and arts organizations in attracting and retaining talent in the state.

“The arts contribute to our quality of life and are essential to workforce attraction and retention in Nebraska,” Squires explained. “Beyond the economic impact created by the arts, these performances and events are an important consideration when people decide to move or stay here. The arts help to attract and retain a high-quality workforce in all of our Nebraska communities, and it is critical that arts organizations share this information with their state representatives.” 

Members of O-pa’s team also used the opportunity to educate state representatives on the impact of O-pa’s education programs which reach 450 miles across the state, from Omaha to Scottsbluff. 

“Our education programs now reach students in 48 of Nebraska’s 49 legislative districts,” Schumann explained. “Arts Advocacy Day is a tremendous opportunity to reach out to representatives in Greater Nebraska who may not be aware of the programs we offer across the state and the impact they have on young people in their districts.” 

Arts Advocacy Day is organized by Nebraskans for the Arts (NFTA). NFTA advises policymakers, elected officials, and community leaders on the importance of strong arts education in our schools, the economic impact of the arts in our communities, and the benefits of pro-arts policies for Nebraska.