Arts Advocacy
Share |

Theatre Bay Area works with key advocacy organizations, on both the local and national level, to champion arts-positive public policy. We have appeared before governing bodies, at city halls, in Sacramento and in Washington. We've also provided research and advocacy tools to empower theatre artists and supporters to make their own case as they engage their school boards, their city councils, their legislators and their Congressional representatives.

We believe that true community requires active participation. The political landscape is continually shifting, and both the arts and arts education rely on the support of invested individuals who are ready to take action by calling a city councilman's office, writing a letter to a Senator, and collaborating with like-minded people to bring voice to our cause at the national level.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Congress is now debating a new package of relief to address the economic impact of the pandemic. Democrats and Republicans have put forward their competing plans, and frankly both fall short — in different ways. Join TBA and Americans for the Arts in urging our Senators and Representative to make sure artists and art organizations are adequately supported in this next round of funding.


  • Send a message to Congress via Americans for the Arts
  • Contact the arts staff in you elected representative's office
  • Be an #ArtsHero — Join this grassroots movement and choose one of a number of options they suggest including calling Senators Feinstein and Harris
  • Spread these actions and info to your networks, colleagues, and supporters


Questions? Contact 



August 14, 2018

Dear Colleagues!
It’s time to return to the ballot to restore secure and growing arts funding in San Francisco. Please join Theatre Bay Area in endorsing and fully supporting Proposition E – “Arts for Everyone, No New Taxes!”
Two years ago, we came agonizingly close to the two-thirds threshold needed to pass Proposition S. Now, we are back with a new measure that will restore the historic link between arts funding and the city’s hotel tax—a proven source of stable, steadily increasing resources for San Francisco’s artists and nonprofit arts organizations.
Our new measure, Proposition E, is supported by Mayor Breed and the entire Board of Supervisors, as well as Tom DeCaigny and the San Francisco Arts Commission and Kary Schulman and Grants for the Arts. A broad coalition of independent artists and arts and culture groups (including Theatre Bay Area) have been working for the past two years two craft a new measure to lock in place arts funding for many years to come.  
Your arts organization stands to directly benefit from the passage of Prop E. Any company receiving grants from GFTA or SFAC will see their funding opportunities increase. 
I urge you to join TBA in this campaign! Right now, you can:

  • Sign your company on as an official endorser of the measure by following this link: Yes on E: Arts for Everyone, No New Taxes Endorsement Form
  • Encourage your audiences to support Prop E through curtain speeches and ads in your programs (TBA will send you sample language later this week)—
  • Provide volunteers from your organization to help with the campaign—
  • Help the Prop E coalition raise the money we’ll need to reach voters across San Francisco with our YES on E message.

Start today by coming on as an endorser and watch for more YES on E messages coming up.

P.S. All 501c3 nonprofits are permitted to support ballot measures such as the YES on E campaign. Proposition E raises no new taxes and re-establishes the 50-year nexus between the hotel tax and San Francisco’s arts funding. Read more about Prop E.


Proposed Increases to NEA and NEH: A Letter from Brad Erickson


May 1, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Advocacy works!

Monday morning we received word from Americans for the Arts and other leading advocacy organizations that Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement that not only sustains crucial support for federal cultural agencies but actually increases funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by $2 million each.

Your calls, emails and letters made a huge difference. 

What’s Next:

First the House of Representatives will vote on the package, known as an “Omnibus Appropriations bill,” this Wednesday. Then the Senate will vote and the bill will be sent to the President who must sign it by Friday to keep the government running. Despite the President’s stated desire to see funding for the NEA, the NEH and a host of other agencies cut this year it appears he will sign the omnibus by Friday to avoid a government shut-down.

Then Congress will quickly turn its attention to crafting a budget for fiscal year 2018, which starts October 1. Our DC sources tell us this is where the real battle for arts funding will be fought. The President has said that for FY2018 he would like to eliminate the NEA and NEH and cancel all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

We will be back to you with more action alerts as the budget process progresses. Stay alert and keep advocating. Together we can win this fight to fund the arts and enrich the lives of all Americans!

Brad Erickson
Executive Director
Theatre Bay Area


Updated Alerts via TBA Social Feed

With The White House proposing to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, there has never been a more important to make your voice heard!

Contact State Representatives

Your voice adds power! Take a few minutes tocontact your representative  and let them know you support sustained funding for the arts.

Contact The White House

Click here to contact The White House now to lend your support. You can call the comment line at 202-456-1111 or by emailing The White House.



Arts Advocates Take Capitol Hill for Arts Advocacy Day 2017!

Theatre Bay Area Executive Director Brad Erickson (Americans for the Arts’ Co Captain for California) and Managing Director Rachel Fink gathered with hundreds of arts advocates in Washington, D.C. for Americans for the Arts' 30th annual Arts Advocacy Day to tell our Senators and Congressional representatives that we expect strong federal support for arts and culture, affordable health care, and robust protections for immigrants and civil rights.

Brad Erickson and Rachel Fink on Capitol Hill March 20, 2017               

The California delegation had 20 artists and arts leaders from around the state, evenly split between Northern and Southern California. Advocates received a full day of briefings on Monday, March 20, including updates on the political landscape for both the House and the Senate as well as current bills making their way through Congress that would impact the arts. Foremost on everyone's mind was the President's recently released budget, which proposes to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Report back from Executive Director Brad Erickson

Advocacy Day itself started with a kickoff event featuring Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who spoke eloquently and without notes on the value and importance of the arts in communities, individuals and our national life. Other notables included the legendary Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Senator Murkowski (R- AK) who received this year's Arts Award from Americans for the Arts. As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on the Interior, Murkowski holds a key role in funding for the cultural endowments. The Senator spoke passionately about the need for sustained funding for the NEA and NEH, and for investing in our "cultural infrastructure."

Brad Erickson with Nancy Pelosi, Maria Jenson, Alma Robinson,  and Lanier Sammons in Washington, D.C. March 21, 2017                 

The California advocates met with 18 Congressional offices over the course of the day, including meetings with Leader Pelosi, Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Khanna, as well as staff members of Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, and Zoe Lofgren, all from the Bay Area.

The sense of both Democrats and Republicans alike was that elimination of the NEA and NEH was highly unlikely. At the same time, we urged both sides of the aisle to keep up the advocacy pressure!

Arts and Community Members Assemble at City Hall for San Francisco Arts Advocacy Day

Theatre Bay Area staff joined nearly 400 artists, arts administrators, cultural producers, and cultural ambassadors in a spirited rally to advocate for (1) policy priorities (2) a message of “No Cuts,” and (3) stories about the transformative nature of cultural and creative expression.

Theatre Bay Area staff gathers with colleagues from Z Space and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival to rally sustained arts funding.                

Thank you to our colleagues at Arts For a Better Bay Area, Z Space, San Francisco Opera, SFMOMA, Cultural Odyssey, SomArts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LINES Ballet, and countless others who showed up to share their support and lend their voice to this important cause.

Next Steps

Share your photos, reflections, and concerns!

Keep the momentum going by helping spread the word about Arts Advocacy on social media! Use #ArtsDaySF and/or #ArtsAdvocacy and tag @TheatreBayArea on Facebook or Twitter. Make sure to follow Theatre Bay Area on social for important updates, action items, and more.