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Addressing the Urgent Challenges of 2020

On Monday, Americans for the Arts released a blog post detailing the various ways we have addressed the urgent challenges of the past year. Amid a global pandemic, heightened focus on social justice and racial equity, a huge economic downturn, and a contentious presidential election, we have continued our commitment to our vision and planned work, while also pivoting and taking on new, urgent work, like so many of you.
We encourage you to explore this post and learn more about the various efforts and resources we have developed in 2020. We also thank you and all our members for the continued hard work you are doing to make our communities healthier, more vibrant, and more equitable through the arts! Here is a summary of what you can find in the post:
  • Research & Resources. Starting within a week of the country shutting down in March, we began a series of research initiatives to assess and share the plight of creative workers and organizations. Armed with this data and our long history of working within the arts and culture field and with other sectors, we identified at least four urgent COVID-related priorities. To serve the field, we created an online resource and response center that has been visited more than 200,000 times, and developed other resources, trainings, and technical assistance tools, many of which were made available at no or low cost.
  • Advocacy. Since early March, Americans for the Arts, partnering with others, has also pursued COVID-19 relief for the creative sector through timely federal advocacy, including broadening access to unemployment, protecting creative jobs, supporting local and state infrastructure, and seeking direct payments for individuals. These efforts have so far secured more than $13 billion in relief for creative businesses and workers.
  • Racial & Cultural Equity. We have increased, clarified, and specified our commitment to racial and cultural equity this year. And since the adoption of our Statement on Cultural Equity in 2016, we have expanded staffing related to cultural equity initiatives, increased the funds devoted to equity-related programs and services, implemented required equity and anti-racism trainings for all staff, and substantially built out our equity-related evaluation efforts both for the organization and the field.
  • Goal Setting. We are committed to our continued equity journey. Our board of directors adopted a Statement of Recommitment to Racial and Cultural Equity this November, which includes specific financial targets; goals around the hiring of vendors, contractors, and staff; enhanced measurement efforts; and more.
  • Elections. With so much at stake for both the cultural sector and the country this election year, the Arts Action Fund invested in a strong ArtsVote campaign that focused on getting out the vote and registering new voters.
As we look toward 2021 and a new presidential administration, Americans for the Arts is working with our members and partners to ensure that we are squarely focused on imagining a new way forward for creative workers and the creative economy. As we shift to integrating creative work in the national recovery, we firmly believe that such efforts will succeed best when they center BIPOC, disabled, and LGBTQIA+ populations and when they are pursued with a unified voice from the full creative economy.
Thank you again for the work you do. If you have any questions, please reach out to us.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.
Americans for the Arts

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