Artists, arts-related organizations, advocates and business leaders representing tourism and economic development will gather at the Arizona State Capitol for the 25th annual Arizona Arts Congress from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 7.

The yearly event includes a series of meetings with Arizona legislators to discuss the cultural and economic value of the arts across the state, arts policy, arts education and public funding for the arts. 

Sponsored by Arizona Action for the Arts, registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on the Senate Lawn. Advocacy training sessions and small group meetings will legislators also are scheduled at the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, 1820 W. Washington St., walking distance from the Capitol.  Meetings with individual legislators are scheduled throughout the day.

"We know the arts-just like education and resources for the working poor and newly poor, among others-will be impacted by decisions to offset the state's budget imbalance," said Catherine "Rusty" Foley, interim executive director of Arizona Citizens/Action for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy organization. "But public funding for the arts plays a critical role in making the arts accessible for the broadest population of Arizonans as possible and in supporting arts organizations all over the state that provide jobs and support economic development in communities large and small.

"Arts Congress is an important opportunity to reinforce the value and importance of the arts to Arizona's economic future, educational outcomes and quality of life."

Registration is $15 and includes a box lunch. Sponsorship packages also are available to arts organizations and businesses. To register, visit www.azcitizensforthearts.org/arts-congress.html or call (602) 253-6535.

For more information, visit www.azcitizensforthearts.org.

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