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Arts Workers Unite ahead of January 19th Congressional Hearing

Advocacy Alert
A critical Congressional hearing of the House Committee on Small Business on "The Power, Peril, and Promise of the Creative Economy" will be held Wednesday, January 19 at 10 a.m. EST. You can find information on viewing the livestream here.

As a vital movement builds for Arts Workers to Unite ahead of this hearing,  APAP asks members and colleagues to submit written testimony to Congress by Thursday, February 3 on the importance of their work in the performing arts, the impacts of COVID on their arts organizations and businesses, and on legislative changes the collective field supports.

The collective testimony of APAP members will be delivered as a package together with arts workers from around the country to Congress.

How to Submit Testimony

To submit your testimony, please use this testimony template and instructions created by the team at Be An Arts Hero and the talking points below from the League of American Orchestras. Please follow the instructions and submit testimony by 5 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, February 3, 2022.

Congress is considering action on a number of policy packages that would address ongoing support for COVID-19 relief, as well as longer-term recovery. Following are key requests, that can be tailored to reflect the needs of your community.

SUPPORT THE ARTS WORKFORCE AND ARTS SECTOR CONTINUITY: 

  • Ensure that any new provisions related to COVID-19 relief, refundable tax credits, and forgivable loans will remain available to nonprofit arts organizations of all sizes and to self-employed workers, sole proprietors, and small LLCs, to support the arts workforce and communities until the arts can resume full operations.
  • Provide new direct federal relief funding to support the increased and ongoing costs of COVID–19 testing, security to check IDs/vaccination records, ventilation upgrades, and other related expenses.
  • Reinstate the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for the fourth quarter of 2021 (H.R. 6161) and extend its duration, and modify nonprofit eligibility beyond the current “gross receipts” test.
  • Support the "Shuttered Venue Operators Grant” program (Save our Stages) by authorizing the Small Business Administration to grant remaining funds and expand the time allowed for using these grants, as supported in S. 2889, the SVOG Extension Act, to meet the ongoing need for relief.
  • Expand waivers for public/private matching requirements at the National Endowment for the Arts to apply to all active and to-be-awarded NEA grant awards and provide flexibility for sub-granting.
  • Make permanent federal add-ons to Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) eligibility for musicians and other gig economy workers with mixed W-2 and 1099 income sources.
  • Increase charitable giving by reinstating and expanding the above-the-line, universal charitable deduction tax incentive through significantly increasing the cap and extending the provision at least through 2023.
  • Enact the new provisions of the PLACE Act and the CREATE Act (H.R. 6381) to promote the local arts and creative economy nationally and support economic development.
  • Enact the bipartisan Creative Economy Revitalization Act (H.R. 5019, introduced by Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) and Jay Obernolte (R-CA)), which would help revamp the creative economy through the creation of a workforce grants program to employ artists and writers to create publicly available art.
  • Enact the Qualified Performing Artist Tax Deduction (H.R. 4750) and the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act of 2021 (S. 2872), and reinstate deductions for unreimbursed employee business expenses.
  • Support a complete education for all students through federal education funding and distance learning resources that will ensure equitable access to arts education for all learners amidst the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
  • Provide state and local COVID-19 relief funds to support immediate needs of the creative sector and community partners.
  • Ensure effective implementation of new broadband benefits so that all people, no matter their income or location, continue to have access to high speed broadband.  Ensuring connectivity enables more equitable participation in artistic, educational, and cultural activity taking place online.
  • Support dedicated relief resources for nonprofit organizations and their workforce, as proposed in the WORK Now Act (S. 740 / H.R. 1987).
  • Enact policies that will ensure rapid processing of the artist visas that are essential to supporting international cultural activity as performances are rescheduled.

How to Participate in #ArtsWorkersUnite

From January 10 through 19, 2022, APAP members are also encouraged to join the social media effort led by Be An Arts Hero and happening now through the day of the hearing. View the social media toolkit.

Thank you to our colleagues at Be An Arts Hero, the League of American Orchestras, and the many others leading and contributing to this effort.
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