As the outbreak of the coronavirus continues to disrupt all facets of life, lawmakers will begin to address the severe implications. On the local, state, and federal level, we will see responses with bills and legislature to ease the health and economic repercussions felt by many in communities across the nation.
One constituency, among the many, that will be impacted acutely is that of the performing arts and music communities. We already are seeing the most massive spate of cancellations on a local, regional, and national basis than in many a decade. Perhaps on a scale never seen before.
Unfortunately, performing arts and music communities are a constituency often forgotten and left out of bills and legislations respective to funding. The performing arts and music communities have experienced drastic cuts in grants and funding in the past decade. And, continue to feel the threat of funding cuts for the arts on a national scale. For instance, the latest budget proposal submitted by the Trump administration, once again, called for a substantial cut in the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Our economy has increasingly transformed into an independent “gig” economy. Uber and Lyft drivers often come to mind when lawmakers hear and address the independent “gig” economy. But also, should independent artists and musicians whose livelihood depends on independent “gigs” at restaurants, bars, performing arts centers, lounges, cafes, music halls, and theaters.
Knowing the communities as I do, none will shy away from their civic duty to protect citizens from the pandemic of the coronavirus. Accepting cancellations as best they can with the full knowledge of the hit on their income they are about to take.
One day, this pandemic will be over. With the performing arts and music communities doing their part as civic-minded citizens to stem the breakout and lessen the severity.
Thus, this is a call to action to lawmakers to not forget the performing arts and music constituency in addressing the enormity of the public health crisis our country currently faces. For one day, you personally will want to attend a concert, see a play, or hear music while dining. The very cultural activities that breathe life into our communities.
It would be a shame if these were somehow less available for failing to take action now and in a time of crisis.