Add 'Advocacy' to Your Creative Practice

Lately I’ve find myself growing obsessed with discovering connections between audience development and word of mouth marketing.  I concluded on one word that sets a powerful tone: advocacy.

Last night, I had the wonderful privilege to see Back to Back Theatre Company’s latest production, LADY EATS APPLE as part of the Melbourne Festival.  Back to Back Theatre is all about empowering people with disabilities to be apart of the arts as performers.  LADY EATS APPLE certainly reminded the audience how amazingly able these individuals are! 

As always, as we left the Arts Centre, my partner and I immediately engaged in conversation expressing our personal experiences.   We both agreed: the experience was powerful and definitely a conversation starter – event the director’s note inside the program encourages the audience to interpret the experience as they wish, talk about it with one another, but don’t share with the performers ;)

And our Uber picked us up.  As we journeyed home, my partner and I continued our conversation, which now included the driver.  It started off casually – how was our night was and where we were coming from - and I began to recall the wonderful theatre experience.

Our conversation continued nonstop with passion and intrigue for a full 20 minutes, the length of our drive home.  And this unique conversation got me thinking about how important it is to advocate for the arts. 

Engaging in conversation with community individuals establishes an educational platform that stresses value of the arts.  Arts events rely heavily on word of mouth to sell tickets and place more bums on seats.  But it’s the creativity and natural ability structured in conversations that can really convince more individuals to experience the arts.

As artists, we know the impact of the arts to the community.  After all, why else would we be so involved and willing to give our gifts to the public for free?  But there’s always the question: why does the community not value the arts like artists do?  I believe it’s because there is a lack of conversation reminding the community how much the arts surround their lives.

Art is everywhere: it is found in architecture, technology, billboard advertisements, newspapers, etc.  Do we as artists refuse to acknowledge the creativity involved in those everyday activities too? 

I don’t believe so.  I believe that in order to make a social impact we just need to acknowledge art around us and talk more about it.  I encourage you to not only continue your arts practice daily, but also add ‘arts advocate’ to your routine. Advocating is what will change the current social perception of the arts.