Motivation…The Key to Effective Advocacy

Why do I advocate for arts and culture? For me, the reason is simple. The arts have the power to impact the whole – the whole human being and the whole community. From my view at the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, I see this every day.


For example, Michelle Muldrow’s paintings offer a conceptual exploration of the contemporary American landscape. For me, her interpretations offer a new lens to explore and consider the world around me, bringing new insight to my life. Michelle is one of many Cleveland artists who, through their work, contribute to a broader understanding of our society. That’s a key element to progress, for people and communities.


When I advocate for greater investments, or for other public policies that support the arts and cultural sector, I’m really advocating for healthy minds, bodies, discussions and communities. That self-awareness is key, because the definition of what I’m advocating for drives how I advocate, to whom and with what allies.


Understanding your own motivations, however, is only part of the task. In order to affect policy change and enlist new supporters, you also have to understand the motivations of others. With that information, you can think about how art and advocacy can move that agenda forward, and how–with more support–greater progress could be made.


Here’s an example. Addiction to prescription pain medication is an epidemic in many communities. The problem has captured the attention of many political and community leaders, who are looking for a positive, proactive method for addressing this issue.


Art and music therapies are widely acknowledged for their positive outcomes in pain management. Perhaps prescribing more of these therapies could actually help address addiction. So, what’s the barrier? A key issue is who is going to pay for it. More data and research would help validate these therapies as alternatives. And policy change–such as state licensure of art therapists–could influence insurers to reimburse for this form of pain management.


Advocacy can help make that happen. We can spread the word about the need for greater support for this research, and connect those who have received therapy with leaders in a position to change policies.


-Guest contributor, Megan VanVoorhis is the COO of CPAC. Zygote is leading a community advocacy project called the Arts Advocacy Fluxus Project (AAFP). The AAFP is an artist-made, open source toolkit designed by Zygote’s early career artists and interns to engage the larger community through print-based media. Supported by the Ohio Arts Council, The George Gund Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, CAN, Waterloo Arts and Northeast Shores. For more information contact:

What Happens is Another Opening Reception

February 21 – March 28, 2014

Opening reception 6-9 pm Friday, February 21
Curated by: Nicole Schneider


Iron Printmaker Exhibition and Benefit

6-9 pm Friday April 11, 2014

Exhibition through April 26, 2014


Creative Fusion Artist Olivia Mihaltianu

May 2 – 24, 2014

Opening reception 6-9 pm Friday May 2, 2014


Zygote Press

1410 East 30th Street

Cleveland, Ohio 44114


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