Contact Your Member of Congress Today to Support Arts and Culture in Coronavirus Legislation!

By Laurie Baskin posted 15 days ago

  
Greetings,

TCG is asking our Member Theatres to urge your Members of Congress to sign onto a Dear Colleague letter - this opportunity is only open today as it hopes to influence the very fast moving Coronavirus stimulus package. Here is the message to Members of Congress and the letter that is being circulated:

DEADLINE: COB TODAY

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in sending a letter to House leadership asking for support of the arts and culture community in any economic relief package. As noted in the letter, we're seeing reports that the sector has already seen financial losses of at least $3.2 billion from canceled productions, programming, and consumer spending on arts-related products.

The letter asks for:

  • Emergency stimulus for available for business continuity and direct assistance to the arts community
  • Targeted relief to the arts and entertainment workforce given unique employment structures
  • Enhanced deductions for charitable support of the nonprofit sector

Please reach out to Evan Johnston with Rep. Pingree at evan.johnston@mail.house.gov with any questions or to sign on.

 

Sincerely,

Chellie Pingree                                               Suzanne Bonamici

Co-Chair, Arts Caucus                                   Co-Chair, STEAM Caucus

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

We write to ask that you consider the needs of the arts and culture sector and its workers in recovery package for individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released data showing that arts and cultural economic activity accounted for 4.5 percent of gross domestic product, or $877.8 billion, in 2017, and directly supported 5.1 million jobs across the country. As the country takes necessary measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, that economic activity – and the millions of jobs associated with it – is deeply endangered.

From suspended and canceled productions to reduced consumer spending on arts and cultural products, the sector has felt the impact quickly and profoundly. Following a national survey of its members, Americans for the Arts reported financial losses of an estimated $3.2 billion to date. Importantly, the survey also showed that this is hurting communities nationwide – large cities, rural towns, and everywhere in between.

First, we ask that you consider appropriating $4 billion in emergency supplemental funding for economic development, business continuity, and direct assistance that is accessible to the arts community. Cultural agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts are well-positioned to administer such relief given their longstanding knowledge of and relationships within the sector. The NEA successfully distributed $50 million in direct grantmaking as appropriated within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and can provide the breadth and magnitude of support necessary to assist arts and culture organizations and artists through the current crisis.

Second, though we were pleased to support efforts in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to expand paid sick days, family leave, and unemployment insurance, we are concerned that arts and entertainment workers can’t access this relief due to the sector’s unique and variable employment structures. An entertainment worker may be employed by many different productions every year, without consistent employment contracts, schedules, or compensation. Similarly, a self-employed or independent contracting artist may rely on working hundreds of gigs or events to earn a living. These challenges make it difficult to access existing programs, especially with an accurate assessment of lost income. We urge you to consider targeted relief to support the livelihoods of arts and entertainment workers.

Third, we are concerned about the potential impact of decreased charitable giving on the arts and cultural sector. Nonprofit arts organizations depend on charitable giving for 40 percent of their revenue and will count on it even more now that earned revenue is not available. Please consider enhanced deductions for charitable support of the entire nonprofit sector.

Arts and culture touch our lives in countless ways every day, whether in ensuring a well-rounded education for our children, promoting civic dialogue, or supporting Main Streets in communities across the country. As this pandemic response continues, we will need your support to stem losses and ensure the sector’s survival.

Sincerely,

Chellie Pingree                                                Suzanne Bonamici

Co-Chair, Arts Caucus                                    Co-Chair, STEAM Caucus

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress


And other Members of Congress will sign here...

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