Does Arts-Funding Advocacy Need a Famous Face?

There’s nobody on that stage.
Photo: Nikada/Getty Images

I know time doesn’t feel real right now—but time is running out. The Paycheck Protection Program loans are drying up. As of July 31, the $600 unemployment insurance assistance checks will stop coming. Congress is mulling a bill that will determine how and whether that Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will continue or contract into nothing, whether those who have been left out or ignored will get essential subsistence funds. And in just days, we’ll know if the arts, which make up 4.5 percent of our GDP, have again been treated by the Senate as frivolities, despite being a larger chunk of the national economy than transportation or construction.

third of U.S. museums say they might not recover at all. In its July fact sheet, Americans for the Arts says that 12,000 arts organizations in the U.S. aren’t confident they can weather the storm. Music festivals and arts-in-education programs and theaters are all in existential peril. The freelancers who make the art are about to be evicted. Perhaps during this quarantine you’ve listened to some music or watched a livestream to keep the isolation at bay? Then take a moment to think about the fact that those things that make life sweet, that draw communities together are being dragged over the cliff’s edge. For many in the field, they feel abandoned; it’s become commonplace online to complain that there’s no concerted effort being made to save the sector. But work is being done, though there’s no figurehead for it.

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