The petition to congratulate President Biden and VP Harris and urge them to boldly support the arts has been sent to the White House! Download a PDF of the full petition letter and list of signatories HERE.
January 20, 2021
Dear President Biden and Vice President Harris:
Congratulations on your historic win! The arts community stands ready to support your agenda to Build Back Better with the arts!
As you stated yourself, "The future, who we are, lies in the arts. It's the expression of our soul." Arts and culture are fundamental to rebuilding America and we hope to see it prominently featured in your Build Back Better plan. As concerned citizens who care about the future of the arts and arts education, we urge you to incorporate the arts and culture in your early plans to invest in all aspects of the nation’s infrastructure, economic growth, and jobs.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the creative economy adds $878 billion a year to our nation's Gross Domestic Product, representing 4.5% of the GDP and 5.1 million jobs. The national economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry alone boasts $166.3 billion in economic activity annually, and generates $27.5 billion in federal, state, and local government revenue. Investing in existing creative enterprises, fostering the growth of new businesses, and supporting creative economy workforce development will help revitalize and strengthen both our national and local economies now and into the future. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has devastated the creative sector. The recent financial losses to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations is now estimated to be $14.6 billion with 63% of artists and creative workers reporting no employment.
We especially recognize the importance of arts and culture as powerful conduits for bridging and healing deep divisions, while continuing the work of redressing systemic injustice—including long-time inequities in arts funding as well as a lack of appreciation for creativity from all cultures. Artists and arts organizations not only reflect and respond to societal change and upheaval but have an important role in examining our political, economic, and social systems—pushing people and communities to engage thoughtfully and take action towards social progress.
We urge you to:
- Target a broad cross-section of federal programs to specifically encourage and include creative workers and creative businesses in any infrastructure, workforce development, economic, and education efforts throughout every federal agency from the Department of Labor to the Department of Defense.
- Incorporate our very specific recommendations to “Get Creative Workers Working” that have been endorsed by thousands of arts groups and artists across the country.
- Create a Presidential Arts and Culture Advisor to oversee arts engagement throughout the federal government.
- Support the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by doubling their funding and indexing them to $1 per person, currently funded at only $167.5 million each (51 cents per person).
- Proactively establish federal programs that support cultural and racial justice for all.
- Support expanding S.T.E.M. education to include the arts to become S.T.E.A.M., as well as reinstating the necessary data collection to continue issuing the nation’s report card in the arts.
- Support an across-the-board charitable tax deduction so that all taxpayers, including non-itemizers, are encouraged to make donations to their favorite charities.
- Launch an “Artists Corps,” through the Serve America Act provisions so that young artists can be tapped to bring more innovation, creativity, and economic development to address unmet needs in our communities.
- Support our creative sector with meaningful COVID-19 economic relief for arts groups and gig artists.
We hope that you will keep these considerations in mind as your Administration makes national policy decisions in the months and years to come.
Thank you for boldly advancing the arts in America.