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Arts Vote Free Virtual Event

Arts Vote 2020 - Arts Vote Free Virtual Event Americans for the Arts and the Democratic National Convention

John Lewis Statement Released Posthumously

John Lewis posthumous statement

The Honorable John Lewis wrote his last remarks to the nation to be published posthumously upon the day of his funeral in Atlanta, Georgia on July 30, 2020.  We honor him in publishing these inspiring words from one of the greatest men to walk the Earth, a civil rights giant who fought for Voter’s Rights, and a passionate arts advocate, who famously stated “Without the arts, without music, without dance, without drama, without photography, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings.”

Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation

By John Lewis

July 30, 2020

Mural of John Lewis in Atlanta, GA

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Americans for the Arts

IMPORTANT PUA and PPP Info from Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies Again

  • The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan through a bank or online financial institution was officially extended from June 30 to August 8, 2020. Last week, Congress unanimously voted to extend the deadline and President Trump finally signed it into law over the weekend. Please note that this is only a deadline extension and not the opportunity to apply for a second PPP. There is still more than $125 billion available for first-time PPP borrowers who are self-employed, gig artists, contractors, or a corporation or nonprofit with W2 employees. Just remember that you cannot collect pandemic unemployment if you’re also paying yourself with a PPP forgivable loan during the same covered period.

 

  • The extra $600 of weekly federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is still currently set to expire on July 31, 2020. For those of you who are self-employed, gig artists, or Form 1099 independent contractors and are currently collecting PUA, you may want to consider applying for a PPP loan on August 1st, which will allow you to then stagger rather than overlap federal economic relief assistance during this pandemic.

 

  • Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund currently have an Action Alert that will enable you to send a quick email to your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators, urging them to approve both an extension of PUA benefits beyond 7/31/20, and allow a second round of PPP forgivable loans for existing borrowers. These two programs are particularly needed to those working in the arts, entertainment, tourism, and hospitality industries. Send your emails to Congress through our Arts Action Center.

 

  • On July 1st, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the names of the 855 national, state, and local nonprofit and governmental arts organizations, who were awarded $45 million in CARES Act emergency arts funding. This is in addition to the supplemental $30 million that was quickly passed through to every state and regional arts agency in April for purposes of re-granting locally within their geographic areas.

 

  • If you haven’t done so yet, please remember to complete your 2019 federal income tax return by July 15th, or at least request a filing extension to October 15th. The CARES Act had extended this year’s filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, but this extension does not necessarily apply to the filing deadline of your state income tax return.

 

Resources to Assist You:

  1. Office Hours with Nina (Free Q&A forum about the CARES Act on M, W, F @ 11am EDT)
  2. Book Nina for Your Own Webinar (Free service to share tips on CARES Act and legislation)
  3. CARES Act Table Updated 6/24/2020
  4. PPP Loan Forgiveness Application
  5. ArtsU on-demand videotaped training webinars on the CARES Act
  6. Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Resource and Response Center

Thank you for everything you do to enrich people’s lives through the arts. If possible, please also consider contributing to the Arts Action Fund PAC.

2021 NEA Budget Increase Proposed

Americans for the Arts
            
July 7, 2020

Earlier today, the U.S House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee strongly rejected President Trump’s fourth consecutive annual budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by instead appropriating $170 million in funding for each for fiscal year FY 2021! This represents an increase for both agencies of $7.75 million each over the current FY 2020 funding level of $162.25 million and it is the same amount that we recommended to Congress.

Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert Lynch and ArtsVote 2020 Chair and Arts Action Fund Board Member Ben Folds testify before the U.S. House Interior Subcommittee on February 6, 2020.

As you will recall, Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund president and CEO Robert Lynch and our ArtsVote 2020 Chairman and musician Ben Folds testified in support of the $170 million budget request on February 6, 2020. (Watch Ben’s testimony here.)

Additionally, we are very pleased to share that the House bill includes specific language requested by Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund to enable the NEA to waive financial matching grant requirements and to allow grantees to use the federal funds for general operating support as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  These new funds would not limit eligibility to only recent NEA grantees and would apply to FY 2021 grants as well as any outstanding FY 2020 and 2019 grant funds.

Stay tuned. This bill will proceed next to the full U.S. House Appropriations Committee, then the House floor before moving to the Senate chamber for consideration over the coming weeks and months.

Arts advocacy makes a difference. Thank you for everything you do to enrich people’s lives through the arts. If possible, please also consider contributing to the Arts Action Fund PAC.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

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New Studies Show Devastating Impact on Arts Sector

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainWe have some tough economic data to share with you about the arts sector, but with your advocacy help, we can work on recovering and rebuilding. Following up on Friday’s action alert on the HEROES Act legislation, we hope you will take five minutes to urge your members of Congress, especially your Senators, to increase support for pro-arts policies as negotiations continue on the next legislative package of COVID-19 relief.

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).

Two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed, as jobs in the “Arts, Entertainment & Recreation” sector have shrunk by 54.5%.

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.


1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
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www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

National Arts Action Digital Summit - Participate in this First Ever event!!

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainJoin us for the first-ever National Arts Action Digital Summit!

April 27-May 1, 2020

Register Here!


Americans for the Arts is delighted to bring a brand-new experience to engage with hundreds of arts advocates from across the country virtually at the National Arts Action Digital Summit.

With Congress scheduled to return in May for further COVID-19 relief legislation and the annual federal budget, advocating for the arts is more important now than ever. Along with over 85 National Partners, we’re excited to present over a dozen plenary and issue-specific breakout session webinars live from April 27 – May 1, 2020. You can register for the entire Digital Summit, or for individual sessions based on your preference.

We’ll be presenting advocates the new COVID-19 policy requests several dozen national arts organizations are taking to Congress. Please take two minutes to send an updated e-alert to Capitol Hill with new pro-arts policy requests as Congress looks towards a second CARES Act bill.

Over these five days, you’ll gain a depth of knowledge from policy experts at Americans for the Arts and many of our National Partners, including sessions on:

  • Congressional COVID-19 Relief for the Arts
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Arts Education
  • Charitable Giving
  • And many more!

You’ll also be able to watch a recording of these webinars whenever you like to refresh your understanding of the issues. Learn more and register here! Then join the Summit Facebook event to connect with other arts advocates before, during, and after the event. $25 per event, $150 for the entire program of events.

Designed to bring advocates the latest updates in federal arts policy, compelling up-to-the-minute data, and successful advocacy techniques, the National Arts Action Digital Summit is the best way to prepare yourself to make key asks of your federal elected officials and to learn how to be the best arts advocate you can be—all from the comfort and safety of your home. Learn more today!


1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
F 212.980.4857
[email protected]
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

Participate in a COVID-19 and Social Distancing Study

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainYou’re invited to participate in an international study measuring the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on mental health as a result of social distancing and specifically which activities, including the arts, we are engaging in to persevere.

In partnership with the University of Florida and University College London, members of the Arts Action Fund are invited to participate in this new global research study, COVID-19 and Social Distancing Study: Exploring the Impacts of Arts and Other Activities on Mental Health.

Your participation matters and everyone is welcome (please forward this invitation to others).  Simply sign-up online, do an initial 10-minute survey, and then receive a short weekly questionnaire asking about your COVID-19 experiences, physical and mental health, and time spent on a whole range of activities—including the arts. It is fast, easy, and together I hope we can demonstrate one more way that the arts make our world a better place.

Thank you for everything you do to advance the arts!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

Arts Support Included in Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

Arts Support Included in Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

March 26, 2020

Late last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed (96-0) the third phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response relief package. The $2 trillion emergency stimulus package included important provisions supporting the arts sector and creative workforce. The nation’s arts and culture industry is experiencing devastating economic losses with closed venues and cancelled performances, exhibitions, and events as a result of the pandemic.

The U.S. House plans to vote on the bill tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET and President Trump, who has already signaled his support of the legislation, is expected to sign it into law shortly thereafter.

This vital piece of legislation includes direct support for both nonprofit cultural organizations and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as economic relief provisions for independent contractors, “gig economy” workers and artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses working in the creative economy.

We are thankful to you, the thousands of advocates and state and local arts agencies, who responded to our action alerts these last few weeks. Your advocacy has been effective and many of our policy asks have been addressed. But we know it’s not enough and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin acknowledged yesterday at a press conference that he thought this legislation was just a three-month economic solution to help workers and affected industries.

Specifically, the bill includes the following arts-related items to address the continuing damage caused by the COVID-19 virus:

Federal Arts Funding (Note: This is a supplement to their annual appropriations)

  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Special note: Congress accepted our ask to waive matching grant requirements and to waive the requirement for grants to be project-specific. All these new fast-track grants will be for general operating support with no match.
  • $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • $50 million for the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences
  • $25 million for the Kennedy Center
  • $7.5 million for the Smithsonian

Community Development Block Grants, Small Business Administration, and Unemployment Insurance

  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants to cities and counties. Arts groups should work directly with their mayors and local economic development offices for grant support.
  • $350 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency loans of up to $10 million for small businesses—including nonprofits (with less than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (like individual artists)—to cover payroll costs, mortgage/rent costs, utilities, and other operations. These loans can be forgiven if used for those purposes. This new eligibility has been a key element of the CREATE Act we’ve been pursuing;
  • $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for loans up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits to be used for providing paid sick leave for employees, maintaining payroll, mortgage/rent payments, and other operating costs;
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance (UI) that includes coverage for furloughed workers, freelancers, and “gig economy” workers. The bill also increases UI payments by $600/week for four months, in addition to what one claims under a state unemployment program.

Charitable Giving Tax Deduction

  • An “above-the-line” or universal charitable giving incentive for contributions made in 2020 of up to $300. This provision will now allow all non-itemizer taxpayers (close to 90% of all taxpayers) to deduct charitable contributions from their tax return, an incentive previously unavailable to them. Additionally, the stimulus legislation lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for itemizers from 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100 percent of AGI for contributions made in 2020.

The inclusion of these provisions to help nonprofits, the arts sector, and the creative workforce can be attributed, in part, to the incredible grassroots outreach by arts advocates across the country, coordination with national nonprofit coalitions, and Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund outreach to Congress and the Trump Administration. It is likely that another stimulus package will be considered by Congress as the economic fallout from the coronavirus adds up across the country – we will need your help again!

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, our up-to-the-minute COVID-19 Resource Center updates, we’re also planning 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. More to come.


1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
F 212.980.4857
[email protected]
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

Take Action TODAY: Include Arts Support in COVID-19 Federal Response

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainThe coronavirus has already had a devastating economic impact on America’s nonprofit arts sector—financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.2 billion. Since the first U.S. case was reported on January 20, cancellations and closings have been reported in thousands of communities spanning all 50 states. In order to support the sector at this vital time, request that your members of Congress include $4 billion—to be distributed though the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—to help offset the losses of the nonprofit arts industry, and expand eligibility through additional federal programs to ensure artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the creative economy can utilize business interruption relief.

In a national survey by Americans for the Arts, 91% of responding arts organizations indicated that they have cancelled one or more events. Many arts organizations have closed their doors for months to come. More than one-third of respondents expect to make reductions in staff; 26% have already reduced their creative workforce. These estimates are based on more than 3,000 respondents to an Americans for the Arts nationwide COVID-19 impact survey, and then further extrapolation of those data nationally using IRS data about nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The survey is ongoing, and these figures will be updated regularly. Given that losses documented in the survey have occurred only in the last two months, Americans for the Arts anticipates additional billions in potential revenue losses for the nonprofit arts and culture field.

Join us in calling on Congress TODAY to designate a minimum of $4 billion—to be distributed through the National Endowment for the Arts—to help offset losses in the nonprofit arts industry and expand eligibility through additional federal programs to ensure artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the creative economy can utilize business interruption relief.


1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
F 212.980.4857
[email protected]
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

President's FY21 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies Again

Americans for the Arts

February 10, 2020
For a fourth-straight year, the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB).  As misdirected as this proposal is, we are confident that Congress—as it has done in the past three fiscal years—will again reject this short-sighted budget request in a bipartisan, bicameral manner, and increase funding for these federal cultural agencies.

In the past three years, Congress not only dismissed these initial calls for termination, but in fact gave steady increases in funding to several of our nation’s cultural agencies.  Check out a brief history of budgetary proposals and final funding for these agencies for the past three years with the President’s most recent budget request in red below:

Key Federally Funded Arts Agency President Trump’s
FY 19 Budget Proposal
Final FY 2019 Funding President Trump’s
FY 20 Budget Proposal
Final FY 2020 Funding  President Trump’s
FY 21 Budget Proposal
National Endowment for the Arts
(NEA)
Termination $155 million Termination $162.25 million Termination
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Termination $155 million Termination $162.25 million Termination
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Termination $242 million Termination $252 million Termination
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Termination $445 million Termination $445 million Termination

Be sure to check out Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert L. Lynch’s full statement regarding the president’s budget proposal. Additionally, ArtsVote 2020 Chair Ben Folds testified on behalf of Americans for the Arts to urge the House Appropriations Subcommittee to increase NEA funding to $170 million for FY 21. Read Bob and Ben’s written remarks and watch Ben’s testimony on the Arts Action Fund website.

Be sure to check out Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert L. Lynch's full statement regarding the president's budget proposal. Additionally, ArtsVote 2020 Chair Ben Folds testified on behalf of Americans for the Arts to urge the House Appropriations Subcommittee to increase NEA funding to $170 million for FY 21. Read Bob and Ben’s written remarks and watch Ben’s testimony on the Arts Action Fund website.