COVID-19 continues to devastate the Arts. The virus is spiking nationally, meaning the majority of Arts & Culture institutions will remain shuttered for the foreseeable future. This month the intersectional grassroots campaign “Be An #ArtsHero” is urging all 100 U.S. Senators to pass proportionate relief to the Arts & Culture sector of the American economy by August 1, 2020, when Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ends (leaving 30 million at risk of eviction, bankruptcy, illness due to lack of healthcare coverage, and worse).
Arts & Culture sector is 4.5 percent of GDP
The call for funding is based on economic data that proves there can be no full American economic recovery without an Arts & Culture recovery. The Arts & Culture sector is 4.5 percent of GDP and responsible for up to $877 billion in value added to the U.S. economy, according to data collected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Arts & Culture production is second only to Retail and adds more to GDP than Agriculture, Transportation, Construction, and Tourism.
“Arts & Culture is so enmeshed with other industries, such as transportation, tourism and hospitality, that to do nothing and allow COVID-19 to ‘gut’ us would essentially cause a systematic collapse of a huge swath of the American economy,” said “Be An #ArtsHero” Citizen Organizer Jenny Grace Makholm. “The Arts & Culture sector is not a luxury, it is a cornerstone of the economy and necessitates proportionate relief immediately.”
Makholm also points out the common “survival jobs” for Arts workers are often in the hospitality and service sectors. Those industries have been almost equally devastated by COVID-19. With over 20 million unemployed, the competition for “survival jobs” is fierce; millions will remain unemployed for the foreseeable future.
● 94 percent of Arts workers report income loss in 2020, and 62 percent of Arts workers have become fully unemployed. The average financial loss due to Covid per Arts worker is $23,500—to date.
● 47 percent of Arts organizations have no target date for re-opening.
● 29 percent of Arts organizations laid off or furloughed staff in 2020, and 10 percent of Arts institutions are “not confident” that they will survive the pandemic (Americans For The Arts)
“With Congress considering more relief, our goal is for the Arts to have a seat at the table,” said Makholm. “The numbers speak for themselves…the Arts are essential to the American economy. They have also kept us emotionally and mentally intact during COVID-19. Can you imagine social-distancing without films, books or music? We should all invest in making sure our cultural institutions and the careers of Artists survive 2020.”
How You Can Help
- Visit BeAnArtsHero.com
- Go to Get Involved page: CONTACT YOUR SENATORS ASAP!
- You can also read and download the Action Packet
- Share the resource graphics
- Follow “Be An Arts Hero” on social media and use #ArtsHero.
- Submit a one-minute video challenge (explain how the crisis has affected you, challenge your Senator to be “Be An #ArtsHero,” nominate a friend or celebrity, tag everyone in the post, share on social media and send to ArtsHeroVideo@gmail.com.
“Be An #ArtsHero” is 100 percent volunteer run and an intersectional grassroots campaign mobilizing all Arts & Culture workers, unions, institutions, and anyone who relies on the Arts economically or personally, to use their individual and organizational platforms and convince all 100 U.S. Senators to pass massive Arts relief by August 1st. The campaign activates the 5.1 million Americans employed in these industries, as well as those who value the role of the Arts in their lives, to compel the U.S. Senate to pass immediate emergency legislation for the Arts economy in crisis.
Top image and second image provided by “Be An #ArtsHero”.