The coronavirus continues to have a devastating impact on America’s arts sector. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released Small Business Pulse Survey data showing three-quarters of responding “Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation” businesses saying the pandemic has had a “Large Negative Effect”—second only to “Accommodations and Food Services.” Unfortunately, by several measures, arts businesses are not getting the same level of relief as other sectors of the economy despite being more severely impacted.
|U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, April 26 to May 2, 2020|
Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts organizations are estimated to be $5.5 billion, to date. These organizations and companies have also lost 210 million admissions due to cancelled events, resulting in a $6.7 billion loss in event-related spending by audiences (restaurants, lodging, retail).
On a positive note, earlier this month, 140 Chambers of Commerce from 39 states offered support of cultural institutions to Congressional leadership through a joint statement that reads, “These institutions are important to every community, exposing residents to creativity and education and enhancing their quality of life.” We are very appreciative of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE) for this leadership.
Similarly, a group of 23 mayors have signed on to a pro-arts statement to congressional leaders highlighting their support for the federal cultural agencies, paycheck support and the self-employed and freelance creative workforce. Their advocacy was led by San Francisco mayor London Breed and the local arts alliance.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which includes substantial funds for state and local governments, school districts, Community Development Block Grants, small businesses and self-employed, and funds for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and museums.
May and June are the most strategic times to increase your advocacy to Congress—Please take five minutes to urge Congress to increase support for pro-arts policies as negotiations continue on this next legislative package of COVID-19 relief.
Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund will continue to work for increased support for our sector as we deal with this global pandemic. In addition to the continuing damage reports being collected through our national economic snapshot survey and dashboard and our up-to-the-minute COVID-19 Resource Center updates, we continue to produce a series of webinars through our ArtsU platform to present experts and guidance to the field to help navigate through these new federal provisions during this challenging time.
Tomorrow, Friday (5/22) at 6 pm, Gail Brewer will be hosting her monthly Uptown Arts call in partnership with the Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. Our topic will be “Innovation in the Arts: Reshaping Our Creative Futures Together.” Register here.
Governor Cuomo has named a new Interfaith Advisory Council to advise on safely bringing back faith services. A list of members (and of all the appointed reopening task forces) is available on Gail Brewer’s website.
The Governor also announced that as of today (5/21) religious services will be allowed to resume statewide provided they include no more than ten people, strict social distancing measures are enforced, and all participants wear masks. We’re seeking clarification about ten people per room, or per building.