I’ve been thinking about the variety of business models and players in our global arts and cultural ecosystem since this pandemic began. It struck me first because it seemed that other similarly affected industries had a collective voice, like travel and restaurants. They were getting public reaction, media support. But in arts and culture and live entertainment, there are so many siloed operators. Creative businesses, all. But with different legal statuses, incentives and postures.
My breath was taken away a little when in late summer I saw that the U.K. had this “collective voice thing” better in hand. The country’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) allocated £1.57 billion to something it titled the Culture Recovery Fund to support culture, arts and heritage institutions, including charitable and commercial entities. This in a region where the arts and cultural economy delivers .05% of total gross domestic product (GDP). In America, by contrast, the same sector contributed 4.3% of GDP (National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), March 30, 2021)
—more than the construction, transportation and warehousing, travel and tourism, mining, utilities and agriculture industries. In this country, Congress allocated $75 million to the NEA, and then artists and businesses—for-profit and non-profit alike—had to seek and search for other, generic financial support in a myriad of places at the local, state and federal levels.
Fast-forward to this past Thursday, May 6, when the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)
received the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals at its inaugural APAP Honors. I’ve just joined that board, and I watched with enthusiasm as Rev. Moose and Dayna Frank, two of the co-founders of the organization who have full-time gigs elsewhere, accepted on NIVA’s behalf this recognition of advocacy impact for the full arts ecology. Frank said, “it was truly wonderful to work across the non-profit and for-profit sectors…with government entities…and come together as one arts economy and creative economy to achieve relief for our industry.” Read full article.