Florida Music Educators Association’s 2015 Arts and Culture Day
By Kathryn Hurlston
Public Relations and Marketing Assistant, Florida Music Educators Association FMEA
A location perfectly suited for the occasion, Arts & Culture Day took place on March 18th on the top floor of Tallahassee’s Capitol building. The floor serves as an art gallery and overlooks the beautiful landscape of the city. Guests were greeted by the gleeful sounds and voices of the Tallahassee Uke Group, a diverse group of ukele players.
The mood was set by Jeff Stanford, a representative from the Orlando Science Center. His demonstration consisted of Energy Sticks, small plastic tubes with electrodes on each end that serve as conductors of energy. When a circuit is created, the Energy Sticks light up and buzz. In this case, the circuit was made up of individuals who formed a circle and held the electrode or the hand of the person beside them. When someone broke the circle, the flashing lights and noises ceased. His discussion stressed the importance of the power and energy created when a group of individuals come together, just as it is important that advocates for arts education work together to achieve their goals.
Speakers emphasized the economic importance of the arts, urging advocates to ask legislators for additional funding in education. The value of “Art for art’s sake” and the sustainability that the arts provide to help build communities was a frequent topic of discussion, which was further reinforced by Secretary of State, Ken Detzner.
The event concluded with student advocate awards and a presentation of the 2015 Florida Legislative Award. The award was presented to Senator Don Gaetz, last year’s President of the Senate, who pushed to fully fund grants for the Division of Cultural Affairs, demonstrating his dedication to the arts. The final number ended on a musical note with the soulful voice of Grammy nominated musician Elsten Torres, accompanied solely by his guitar.
Todd Bonlarron, Legislative Affairs Director for Palm Beach County, did well to summarize the event with the infamous quote, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. His point: it takes more than an army of one advocating for arts education for legislators to set it as a priority. To have your voice heard and to learn more about advocacy for the fine arts, visit cfaefl.org/advocacy.
To learn more about the Florida Music Educators Association FMEA, visit: www.fmea.flmusiced.org
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