500 signatures reached
To: Members of Congress and State Legislatures
Post-COVID Arts Stimulus
Please insure that MASSIVE funding for the arts is included in any post-COVID stimulus package.
- Large block grants to major cultural institutions, performing arts centers, museums, festivals, theater companies, etc.
- Grants to both state and local municipalities for free public concerts, theater performances, dance recitals, art shows, etc.
- Grants and/or tax breaks to private businesses (restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries) that feature live music and/or exhibit local artists.
Why is this important?
It is VITAL to ensure that, when this crisis finally passes, funding for the arts is a MAJOR component of the inevitable stimulus packages that will be used to jump-start the economy. Let’s face it -- when this is all over, cultural life in this country won’t simply return to the way it was before the first coronavirus case was diagnosed. Folks in the performing arts -- both individual artists and cultural institutions and organizations -- were ALREADY in precarious financial shape before all of this started. Just look at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as an obvious example.
Many of these individuals and entities won’t have the wherewithal to properly resume operations when this all ends. And bookings for individual artists will be terribly scarce. Festivals are going to be bankrupt. Bars and restaurants are going to be looking to slash costs anyway they can to recoup at least a fraction of their losses. Live music (and other performing arts) are going to suffer highly.
As such, it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for the long-term future of American cultural life that government funding for the arts be DRAMATICALLY increased in the post-COVID period. On the federal, state, AND local levels. I’m talking about massive grants to performing arts organizations, cultural institutions, etc. Grants for public concert series. Direct grants and/or tax breaks to bars and restaurants that feature live music and/or exhibit local artists. Financial assistance for every level of the cultural economy, big and small. This is a fantastic form of economic stimulus, since you can be certain that almost every dollar spent will go right back into the local community. I don't think anyone in the performing arts has ever saved money in an off-shore bank account.
Apart from supporting the arts, America is going to be DESPERATE, in the post-crisis period, for anything that allows them to gather with family, friends, and neighbors, and gives them a sense of community and belonging. The cultural events funded by this stimulus package could very do wonders in terms of restored what will no doubt be a bruised and battered American spirit.
And look, at every single concert, performance, and other event this stimulus package would support, I'm sure the performers would be more than delighted than to open each show with a statement about how "this performance is made possible by our generous and thoughtful political leaders." Won't that alone make this worthwhile?
If this doesn’t happen, I fear that the rich cultural tapestry of the United States will be irrevocably harmed for decades to come.