Wyoming Arts Council

Americans for the Arts plans to welcome and educate new members of Congress

This is a couple weeks old but bears re-posting:

November 04, 2010—Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch gave the following statement on the Election Day results:

“Frustration with the nation’s lack of economic recovery is clearly top of mind among voters and candidates. Likewise, nonprofit arts organizations have also felt the sting of the recession with state and local government arts funding dropping as much as 16 percent, and private charitable gifts to the arts declining $1.2 billion in just two years. Additionally, individual artists have been experiencing unemployment at twice the rate of other educated, professional workers.

As our newly-elected leaders at the federal, state, and local levels focus on creating jobs and growing the economy, it is imperative that they understand the profound role the arts play in spurring economic growth and job creation. The nation’s 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations are part of the small business sector, and the nation’s 2.2 million professional artists are among the millions of business entrepreneurs fueling the economy. It is also important that our newly-elected leaders appreciate the connection between arts education training and the development of creative and innovative workforce skills, which are essential to future workers to compete effectively in the 21st Century global economy.

For the past four years, the House of Representatives initiated several hearings to spotlight the role of the arts in both the economy and in workforce development, yielding more than $100 million in new public investments in the arts and culture. Americans for the Arts looks forward to working with the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus and Senate Cultural Caucus on Capitol Hill to continue educating freshman members on how the arts fuel our nation’s economy. We want to congratulate three of the four Caucus members who were up for re-election on their convincing win last night and look forward to working closely with them in the 112th Congress. They are Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), and Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY). We also look forward to working with Representative Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL), both already champions of the arts in the House, as they move into their newly elected Senate seats.

At the state government level, several arts champions— based on their record in other public offices or platform statements—have been elected as Governor. They include Governors-elect Jerry Brown (D-CA), Tom Corbett (R-PA), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Lincoln Chaffee (I-RI), Mark Dayton (D-MN), John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Rick Snyder (R-MI).

Locally, there were 232 Mayoral elections in cities with a population of over 30,000. Among the many new promising arts champions, Providence, RI Mayor-Elect Angel Taveras and Louisville, KY Mayor-elect Greg Fischer identified the arts as a way to harness local talent and creative energy to power the economy.

Americans for the Arts will soon begin conducting the next installment of national research to document the size, impact, and trends of the nonprofit arts industry for its Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study. The previous study demonstrated that the nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion of economic activity annually, which supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs.”

Next Steps:

Americans for the Arts will be undertaking a number of comprehensive initiatives to welcome and educate new members of Congress, but we can’t do this without you! Starting today and in the next few months, we ask you to:

  • Send a letter of congratulations to each elected leader representing your community (federal, state, and local levels) and identify yourself or your organization as a resource on arts policy issues.
  • Ask all freshman members of Congress to begin thinking about joining the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus or Senate Cultural Caucus. We will be sending more information about this in the coming weeks.
  • Work with your state and local arts advocacy organizations to develop a unified message to your newly-elected state and local leaders.
  • Save the dates of April 4-5, 2011 to come to Washington, DC for National Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. We especially need grassroots advocates representing the districts and states of newly elected Congressional members.
  • Become an official member of Americans for the Arts Action Fund, it’s free and it helps you stay connected to all the latest political breaking news impacting the arts.

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