The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Annual ARTS Day conference highlights the power of advocacy

Attendees at Arts Day 2019. Photo courtesy of Krystal Kast.

Arts North Carolina will be hosting the ARTS Day Conference online from March 22 to March 24.

Arts North Carolina has hosted the two-day conference for over a decade. Now a three-day virtual experience, the conference will safely continue the tradition of networking and engaging with a united voice for the arts — but this time, through a screen.

Arts North Carolina is an advocacy organization that works to ensure all North Carolinians have access to art while promoting equality in arts. The conference will have a variety of performers and speakers to elevate their mission.

"The speakers for ARTS Day 2021 will focus on issues that have defined our times – racial equity in the arts, advocacy every day, arts education issues, and what reopening the arts in North Carolina, post-pandemic will look like," according to their press release. “The slate of speakers and artists is exciting and because our conference and advocacy meetings are all online this year, there are fresh opportunities for new attendees to participate."

Shana Tucker, executive director of Kidznotes and cellist, has attended ARTS Day for over a decade.

“It was a discovery of like, ‘Oh, wow. People actually formalize and mobilize and lobby about the arts,’” Tucker said. “‘I don't feel alone.’ I realized that there's a structured way that artists and creatives and people who present art throughout the years can speak to lawmakers and policymakers to stress and underscores the essentialness of the art.”

Nate McGaha, executive director of Arts North Carolina, said the event is about art and action.

“This year, we'll be focusing on themes of dealing with the impact of the pandemic on the arts in our state, as well as trying to understand the calls for racial justice and equity,” McGaha said. “They’re not new, but they've swelled and we’re trying to make sure that we're addressing that so that we can have that broader conversation about finding a place for that in the arts."

McGaha said ARTS Day works to facilitate a conversation of advocacy that supports the arts, but also with individuals from varying levels of government.

“I think that what has really become so apparent because of the pandemic, but it's something that North Carolina has felt very strongly about all along, is the power of advocacy,” McGaha said.

Tucker has performed for ARTS Day in past years, but said she is excited to speak at the upcoming conference.

“What I hope my audience takes away is that we all have a responsibility as holders of creativity,” Tucker said.

Tucker said it is important to keep the arts at the forefront of everyone’s mind, which is what makes ARTS Day a reality. Art is the thing that separates us from other living beings, she said.

“It is a way that we can amplify our voices and get people's attention, to listen, consider, participate and activate other people to do the same so that we can change for the better," Tucker said. 

Tickets for the full conference can be bought for $75 until midnight on Sunday through the Arts North Carolina website.


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.