There are 5.1 million Americans employed in the arts and culture sectors of the U.S. economy—and they’ve been hit hard by COVID-19.
As Americans for the Arts’ stats detail:
94 percent of arts workers have reported income loss in 2020, at an average of $23,500
62 percent of arts workers have lost their jobs
29 percent of arts organizations have laid off or furloughed staff in 2020
10 percent of organizations are not confident they’ll survive the crisis.
While so many industries (not to mention major corporations) have received bailouts, the “Be an #ArtsHero” grassroots campaign is seeking to get congress to pass emergency relief for the sector. The latest tool in their fight: a one-minute video challenge that enables anyone to raise their voice and form a chorus to get senators’ attention. It comes at a time when the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program is set to expire on Aug. 1—at which point millions will be at risk of eviction and bankruptcy.
“Arts and culture isn’t a luxury, it’s literally built into the fabric of every hour of our day from what we wear, to how our phone apps work, to the books we read, to what we watch on TV,” #ArtsHero citizen organizer Carson Elrod says. “It’s unimaginable to think of large portions of this incredibly important economic engine of American prosperity grinding to a halt.”
You can take part in the campaign by recording a video about how COVID-19 has impacted you, invite your senators to be an #ArtsHero, and then tag friends and others to do the same. The campaign also maintains a public image bank that anyone can utilize—and it includes a graphic for every state detailing the total number of arts jobs, the arts and culture share of GSP, and graphics featuring senators.
Among the campaign’s five key tenets—which you can find below—is also a call for dedicated funding to underrepresented artists and organizations.
“BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities are often overlooked when it comes to robust arts funding and general economic support,” citizen organizer Brooke Ishibashi says. “They need fair, direct relief to ensure their survival.”
Learn how you can be a part of #ArtsHero here.