Pictured above: Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor), Victoria Justice (YouTube), Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and Anthony Carrigan (Barry) at the USO office at Fort Belvoir, VA

On Friday, April 27, Ovation’s Director of Corporate Relations, Jessica Yas Barker, teamed up with The Creative Coalition for a full day on Capitol Hill to focus national leaders on the value of the arts and to support the #RightToBearArts initiative. The Creative Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity organized by major players in the creative community (including stars in TV, film & web) to advocate for the arts. Ovation chose to sponsor The Creative Coalition’s Hill Day and Right to Bear Arts dinner because of the near-perfect alignment of their advocacy missions: both organizations understand the essential positive impact that arts programs have on local communities, including improved academic outcomes for students, higher graduation and college participation rates, reduced crime and recidivism and increased economic growth. Small investments in the arts can mean huge positive impacts in cities, and Ovation aims to highlight these statistics by partnering with The Creative Coalition’s leaders and membership.

For their first meeting of the day, talents Anthony Carrigan (Barry), Victoria Justice (YouTube) and Karamo Brown (Queer Eye) met with Clerk and Staff Director of the Interior subcommittee, David LesStrang. With The Creative Coalition and Ovation, they discussed funding for arts programs. This meeting was followed by a stop at Chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee Kay Granger’s office, where Renee Cafaro discussed the proven ways that arts integration has helped veterans of war cope with readjusting to civil life after service. Then the group met with Arts Caucus Chair Chellie Pingree before heading to the USO office at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

Thankfully, the 2018 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget increased in large part due to investments in Creative Forces, a partnership of the Department of Defense and NEA that aims to use various arts disciplines to help service members cope with injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) after multiple tours of duty.

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