A new social media campaign, #ArtsHero, has launched in support of securing arts funding from the U.S. Senate before August 1. The call comes amid a shortage of U.S. government funding directly allocated to the performing arts industry, which has been struggling since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theatres, concert venues, and other public gathering spaces.
The August deadline signifies the current stop date for many benefits through the CARES Act, including the $600 per week to anyone receiving unemployment on top of their regular welfare provisions. As it stands now, the additional compensation checks stop July 31.
“The arts make up 4.2 percent of total GDP and create over $877 billion dollars annually in value-added to the United States economy,” writes the group in its action packet. “Simply put, there can be no full American economic recovery without an Arts and Culture Recovery. The arts are big business and an enormous contributor to the overall health of the U.S. economy. To that end, the senate must act immediately to draft and pass legislation to appropriate massive amounts of relief to the Arts and Culture sector.”
The campaign, having created a resource hub for activists, encourages institutions, board members, employees, artists, administrative staff, audience members, and cultural consumers to participate.
Arts workers, institutions, and supporters are encouraged to join in a video campaign that will be shared across social media. Click here for more information.
The campaign is the latest in a string of efforts to support those who are financially struggling due to the pandemic. The Actors Fund launched the Every Artist Insured campaign, See Lighting Foundation is aiming to provide $500 monthly grants to dozens of immigrant theatre artists, and leaders in NYC's custom costume industry formed a coalition to survive the shutdown.
Across the pond, the British government allocated £1.57 billion in arts-focused funding July 6. Additionally, Sam Mendes has launched a new campaign to distribute small grants to artists ineligible for direct government benefits under the current U.K. model.
Looking for other ways to support artists during this time? Donate to a non-profit theatre or industry organization, watch a streaming event, or buy goods from some of your favorite Broadway performers directly (for example, Tony nominee Robbie Fairchild recently opened a virtual florist shop).