Grow student advocacy for arts education
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“My experience with Democracyworks changed my life. It gave me a lifelong purpose in advocacy that I would not have had otherwise.”

-2016 Democracyworks winner Salwa Meghjee, pictured here with Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

The Democracyworks student essay competition was founded in 2009 to support and grow student advocacy on behalf of theatre and other arts education.

“The message I learned loud and clear from my experience in Democracyworks and Arts Advocacy Day is that we must recognize the power of the student voice. When I went to Washington I felt like, for the first time in my life, my voice was needed. People from different backgrounds all over the country wanted to talk to me. They valued my perspectives and opinions based on exactly who I was: a teenager.” -2015 Democracyworks winner Grace Alt

  • In eight years, more than 250 high school students have written essays focusing on topics ranging from the importance of diversity to the value of theatre education in a democratic society.
  • The essay winner annually earns a trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in National Arts Advocacy Day, where he or she reads their essay before the delegation and visits Capitol Hill to meet with legislators to advocate for the importance of arts education.