3 Steps to Rapidly Support the Art Ecosystem

  • March 23, 2020 14:42

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Jefferson Memorial with cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C.; photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, b. 1946
(Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Div...

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." - Thomas Merton

Quickly-executed advocacy and funding, along with online commerce, can help preserve lives, jobs and institutions in the U.S. arts industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


There is still time to appeal to Congress to include the arts industry in an economic relief package. Here is the link to contact your legislators and here are some talking points from American for the Arts:

  • 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;
  • Adopt recommendations to temporarily lift specific federal grantmaking restrictions;
  • Ensure that individual artists (and artists who are small businesses) are fully eligible for any individual payments (such as the potential $1,000 per person payments for individuals that is being proposed, as well as any additional payments proposed to small business since so many artists function as small businesses);
  • Ensure that our nation’s 120,000 nonprofit arts organizations, most of which are small businesses, are fully eligible for any small business benefits being incorporated in relief funds; and
  • Make additional sums available to the artists and art organizations that function in the for-profit arts arena as well. Our federal government Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the broader creative sector, combining the nonprofit and for-profit art sectors, has a significant economic activity of $877 billion.

Emergency Funding, Donations

American for the Arts has accumulated a running list of resources and funding for artists, businesses and nonprofits. Those in the arts and culture sector can take a 5-minute impact survey to help identify needs and losses in the industry. See the data.

“Americans for the Arts’ research shows that the coronavirus is already having a devastating effect on arts organizations and artists. The nonprofit arts sector is a $166 billion industry and it is suffering. It is critical that this sector be included in federal stimulus funds,” said Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch. “There will be a measurable economic and social ripple effect that will be felt in every city and town as arts organizations and performances close, leading to further losses for restaurants, bars, parking facilities, hotels, and much more. The economic damage will be in the billions.”


If you can, support museums with a donation or membership and continue to browse online for art from your favorite galleries, auction houses and fairs while you #stayathome. Commission an artwork, or buy a gift certificate for a future purchase.

And one more step is imperative for those on the front lines, and all of us, please help protect first responders and health care workers by funding Direct Relief's deployment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); donate today: Art World for Direct Relief, COVID-19 response

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