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Watching The National Conventions

It’s high season for politics as we watch the high stakes of the Democratic National Convention unfold in Philadelphia, and reflect on the vituperative Republican National Convention. There has never a more important time to be engaged in the political process and the civil discourse the arts and humanities enable.

Our number one duty is voting in the November election. And regardless of who is elected, with a new administration will come new opportunities and challenges.

Next, you can also get involved with local initiatives including the Baltimore Education Coalition, the Baltimore Arts Education Coalition, and Citizen Artists Baltimore.

Even though Congress and the Maryland General Assembly are not currently in session, there is much work to prepare statewide and nationally for the upcoming year.

The FY 2017 State budget proposed by Governor Larry Hogan and enacted by the Maryland General Assembly includes a record $20.3 million in funding for the arts. We are grateful to Governor Hogan, artist and advocate, First Lady Yumi Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller, and House Speaker Mike Busch for their commitment to promoting the arts as both an economic driver and a cultural catalyst. We are also grateful for the advocacy efforts of MD Citizens for the Arts who work to preserve and expand arts funding for the state. Watch for MD Arts Day in 2017 and do your part by showing up in Annapolis.

On a national basis, Americans for the Arts lobbies for arts and culture, and is an excellent source of research and other advocacy information including policy work concerning arts education. Check out their latest public opinion poll, Americans Speak Out About the Arts, and consider becoming a member of this important organization.

In the meantime, local artists are speaking up about myriad issues including recent Rubys grant winner Erick Benitez. His project La Frontera will be a multi media exploration of migration and border relations including interviews and found items from the border crossing.

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