Friday, December 18, 2020

Arts industry can boost rural economies, but industry advocates say artists need more stimulus funding

As Congress mulls a new economic stimulus package, arts industry leaders say creative professionals need more funding. During the pandemic, "nearly 3 million jobs in creative industries are projected to have been lost, representing more than a third of all creative-industry jobs in the United States, according to a Brookings Institution analysis this summer of the coronavirus impact on the creative economy," Andrea Noble reports for Route Fifty. "About $150 billion in sales of goods and services from creative industries is estimated to have been lost as well."

That matters in rural America because arts and cultural organizations can boost local economies, make towns more attractive to tourists and prospective businesses and residents, and increase civic pride among residents. "Artists turn around economies and rural and distressed communities. They stimulate jobs in other sectors that depend on a vibrant arts economy," Kelly Barsdate, chief program and planning officer for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, told Noble.

Some state and local governments have earmarked direct financial aid for artists, but "going forward there may be less public grant funding available for artists as state and local governments coping with tax revenue declines end up slashing their budgets," Noble reports.

Arts leaders say federal support for the creative economy has been lacking. "It’s not just about the arts wanting special treatment," Barsdate told Noble. "Across the board, the arts have lost four times more jobs and revenue than other industries."

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