(A Ready. Set. Share. contributing post on HandmadeinPA.org)
On Monday, April 30th, three of us from the office headed to Harrisburg for Citizens for the Arts in PA’s first Arts & Culture Legislative Visits Day. It seems we end up in Harrisburg at least once a year to do visits and while it is not the favorite part of my job, it is a necessity.
We had appointments with four legislators and/or their staff, and so we headed around the capitol building armed with our fact sheet from Citizens for the Arts and our own information piece. Our first stop was Senator Scarnati’s office. While we were not able to meet with the Senator himself, we did spend 20-25 minutes chatting with members of his staff.
Just prior to leaving the office, we asked the staff what they appreciate seeing from us and how we could be best prepared for these periodic visits. Facts and figures summarized on one sheet was the number one answer, as expected, but the second item suggested was something creative that talks about who we are (we handed out a small, colorful booklet created by one of our staff). Legislative staff, especially in the capitol offices, are often approached by many organizations who they just don’t work with on a daily basis and who they’re not familiar with. And the best part of the visit – as we were leaving, a staffer (a male staffer) commented on the “artisan jewelry” I was wearing. The necklace was made by Paul & Cathy Stalker of Tioga, PA – a town within the Senator’s district.
This scenario repeated itself throughout the day and ended up being a great advertisement for not only Paul & Cathy, but also small artisan shops in general and thePA Artisan Trails (Paul & Cathy are members of the PA Wilds Artisan Initiative).
It was also great to see tables set up by the PA Artisan Trails Initiative, the PA Guild of Craftsmen and several Guild members. All reinforcing the information we had shared with legislative staff, particularly comments on economic development and partnerships with tourism and museum folks.
A day of advocacy also became a day of marketing.