With Legislature in session, arts advocates and supporters get busy

austin360.com
Written by: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Published: January 26, 2013

When the advocacy group Texans For the Arts converges in Austin later this week for its biennial Arts Advocacy Day, few artists will be among the organization’s certified advocates making visits to Texas legislators.

“Working artists aren’t always great at speaking up for themselves,” says Michael Burke, TFA’s executive director. That’s why the non-profit TFA, which is under the national organization Americans for the Arts, formed in 1995. “The arts had no voice at the legislative level,” says Burke.

On Thursday, TFA members — largely arts organization professionals and their board members as well as a smattering of individual arts supporters — will arm themselves with talking points and descend on the State Capitol.

Among the facts and figures that the advocates will wield?

Recent studies have found that in the Lone Star State the arts and cultural industries account for more than $4 billion in taxable sales every year. In addition, the arts contributed $150 million to state and local tax authorities — equal to the revenue generated by all University of Texas sports combined.

Arts Advocacy Day is just one of several efforts cultural supporters will employ this legislative session.

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