ANGEL QUESADA GOES TO WASHINGTON
Angel Quesada, Folklife + Traditional Arts Manager
Part of my job is to understand the workings of a local arts agency, not only on the local level, but also as part of the national conversation. The moment an opportunity to be a part of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s (NALAC) Advocacy Leadership Institute was available to me, I jumped at the chance to be involved. It was a crash course in understanding arts legislation and the role government plays within the context of the arts landscape.
The 2015 NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI) was a three-day immersive, hands-on training on the role of government and public institutions in the arts field. A delegation of nine of us were selected to attend the ALI in Washington, D.C.
Highlights of the 2015 NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute included training at the Smithsonian Latino Center, meetings with noted political leaders on Capitol Hill and with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, introductions to senior staff at the National Endowment for the Arts, and visits to the Department of Education and the White House State Department in the Office of Public Engagement.
On Thursday, April 30, I met with my local representatives and senators. They included the offices of Senator Ted Cruz, Representative Gene Green’s office, and Congresswoman Jackson Lee – with whom I entered the capitol building and met Representative Nancy Pelosi, one of the biggest champions of the arts in Congress.
I learned so much. In fact, I've already engaged with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s office here in Houston and plan to continue to stay in touch locally with my representatives. I was charged by the experience and encourage anyone involved in the arts to invite your representatives to your events. Stay on their radar and let them know how the arts matter, how diversity matters, and what the arts can do to make the world a better place for all of us – after all, they are in place to represent us!