To: Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta and Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America
Delta and Bank of America: Don't silence the arts
Particularly in this moment of political tension and polarization, we must all support and defend the right of artists to push boundaries, and resist calls to restrict the arts to "safe" topics.
We call on Delta Airlines and Bank of America to stand by their artistic partners and to affirm their support for the arts regardless of social or political pressure.
Why is this important?
As a diverse group of concerned citizens representing various fields, both within and beyond the arts community, we are alarmed by the decision of Delta Airlines and Bank of America to withdraw financial support for The Public Theater's work after The Public's performance of its production of Julius Caesar.
The arts play a vital role in opening public dialogue about fundamental issues shaping society, and allowing individuals to consider different perspectives on challenging—and sometimes frightening—subjects.
For sponsors to withdraw funding from Julius Caesar under public pressure predicated on an incomplete understanding of the production risks chilling artistic expression far more broadly and deterring creative works that seek to engage with difficult subjects.
Delta and Bank of America are private actors with the ability to decide which projects they will financially support. However, we are deeply concerned by the impact that the abrupt withdrawal of sponsorship from The Public Theater may have on the willingness of other producers of art to address controversial or political subjects that may result in targeted campaigns and could put their funding in jeopardy.
The Public Theater is an institution known for its artistry, imagination, and fearlessness. We urge these and other corporations to stand by their artistic partners at this pivotal time of social and political tension and, in so doing, to affirm the core values that support for the arts must imply.
1. Andrew Solomon, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Columbia University
2. Autumn Dornfeld, Program Director, Action Group Network
3. Bill Bragin, Co-Director, globalFEST
4. Bill T. Jones, Artistic Director, New York Live Arts
5. Chip Rolley, Senior Director of Literary Programs, PEN America
6. Claude Grunitzky, Chairman, TRUE Africa
7. Daisy Wolf, Student
8. David Baile, CEO, ISPA
9. Elly Brinkley, PEN America
10. Ginny Suss, Okayplayer
11. Giulia D’Angolo Vallan, Writer/Curator
12. Heidi Sieck, CEO/Co-Founder, #VOTEPROCHOICE
13. Isabel Soffer, Co-Director, globalFEST
14. Janet Wong, Associate Artistic Director, New York Live Arts
15. Jenny Schlenzka, Executive Artistic Director, Performance Space 122
16. John Vanco, SVP/GM, IFC Center
17. Kim Cullen, Executive Director, New York Live Arts
18. Kyle Dacuyan, Writer/Curator
19. Laura Macomber, Project Manager, PEN America
20. Laura Michalchyshyn, Producer
21. Linda Brumbach, Director, Pomegranate Arts
22. Lisa Kron, Playwright
23. Lydia Dean Pilcher, Founder/CEO, Cine Mosaic
24. Mary Kaye Schilling, Culture Editor, Newsweek Magazine
25. May Zhee Lim, PEN America
26. Meredith Shepherd, Partner/Co-Founder, Canopy
27. Miriam Fogelson, Cultural Strategist
28. Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, Brava Investments
29. Nicole Birmann Bloom, Arts Coordinator
30. Nicole Merritt, General Manager/Producer, globalFEST
31. Noah Bashevkin, Associate Programmer, THE OFFICE performing arts + film
32. Philip Himberg, Artistic Director, Sundance Institute Theatre Program
33. Rachel Chanoff, Director, THE OFFICE performing arts + film
34. Rebecca Stump, Senior Memberships Manager, PEN America
35. Sam Zelitch, Social Media Coordinator, PEN America
36. Shanta Thake, Co-Director, globalFEST
37. Susan Feldman, Founder/Artistic Director, St. Ann's Warehouse
38. Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN America
39. Tanya Selvaratnam, Producer/Writer
40. Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now