Democracy in Action: Voices heard and agendas set at NPAC
In June 2008, 4,000 participants attended the National Performing Arts Convention (NPAC), making it the largest conference of its kind to date in North America. Attendees engaged in a four-day AmericaSpeaks process in order to develop an action blueprint for the nation’s performing arts community. After identifying common challenges and goals during the three-day caucus sessions, the process concluded with a 21st Century Town Meeting. Attendees who participated in the final Town Meeting voted electronically on actions that would advance the performing arts community in America.
With advocacy, arts education and diversity for the field and its communities as priorities, performing arts professionals can now implement plans that will move the arts community ever closer to its vision of a robust, sustainable and supported community that is relevant to the wider society.
Following are the results of the voting with respect to the national, local and individual/organizational levels.
- Organize a national media campaign with celebrity spokespersons, catchy slogans (e.g., “Got Milk”), unified message and compelling stories (27%)
- Create a Department of Culture/Cabinet-level position which is responsible for implementing a national arts policy (23%)
- Lobby elected political officials for pro-arts policy and funding; demand arts policy platform from candidates (14%)
- Create an arts coalition to get involved in local decision-making, take leadership positions and strengthen relationships with elected officials (21%)
- Forge partnerships with other sectors to identify how the arts can serve community needs (21%)
- Foster cross-disciplinary conversations to share data and best practices, develop common goals and create joint activities/ performances (14%)
- Build relationships with non-arts groups, including governments, corporations, community development organizations, etc. (26%)
- Create opportunities for active participation in the arts for all ages (including interactive websites, open rehearsals, etc.) (24%)
- Expand relationships across the community to find and develop new leaders (e.g. through board development) and local champions for the arts (12%)