The 2020 National Arts Policy Roundtable, “Put Creative Workers to Work: Reimagining Our Nation's Creative Workforce,” took place virtually on December 1-2, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging effects on the creative sector: 90% of creative organizations were forced to close their doors and 63% of artists and creative workers became fully unemployed, virtually overnight. Despite that, cultural consumption, and the production of art by creatives to help people struggling with the challenges of the pandemic has been more essential than ever. As we, as a nation, begin to contemplate strategies of recovery, reimagination, and rebuilding, we must leverage the collective power of the for-profit and nonprofit arts as an advocacy force, as well as our creative power to put creative workers to work in every state and territory, and within tribal lands.

Participants of the 2020 National Arts Policy Roundtable gathered virtually, for the first time in the program’s 15-year history, to engage in open dialogue about how local, state, tribal, federal, and private sector leaders can craft and implement policies that center creativity in recovery, just as President Roosevelt did with the Works Progress Administration (1935) and President Nixon did with the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (1973). The discussion was centered in part on the recent Put Creative Workers to Work policy proposal, which was co-crafted by over 100 cultural groups and individual creative workers and has been endorsed by over 2,100 organizations and individuals. We are at a moment of opportunity where we can reimagine current systems and rebuild stronger with an eye towards accessibility, equity, and justice.

Knight Foundation LogoAmericans for the Arts gratefully acknowledges The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts for their support of the 2020 National Arts Policy Roundtable.