According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the creative economy provides $919.7 billion in value add, supports 5.2 million jobs, and represents 4.3% of the nation’s economy. The arts remain a larger share of GDP than powerhouse sectors such as construction, agriculture, and transportation. Learn more about how you can advocate for pro-creative economy and pro-creative worker policies, as well as participate in upcoming training and events.
Policy & Advocacy
Putting Creative Workers to Work
The Putting Creative Workers to Work proposals were arrived at by a consortium of over 100 partner creative organizations, and have been endorsed by over 2,300 creative businesses and creative workers in all 50 states. For more detail on the policy proposals outlined below, please visit CreativeWorkers.net.
COVID-19 & CARES Act Policy
The Americans for the Arts Action Fund provides free and comprehensive legislative and regulatory updates as well as up-to-the-minute technical assistance of all COVID-19 federal economic resources to support arts organizations and artists. ArtsActionFund.org/COVID19Resources
Shuttered Venue Operating Grant - Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established through the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act to provide over $16 billion in economic relief to target industries. The SVOG application opened April 8, 2021. You can learn more about SVOG and get your questions answered at the Arts Action Fund COVID-19 Resources page.
The Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy Act is written to strengthen federal support for our nation’s creative economy. It was introduced by (now retired) Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). The bill included provisions directing the Economic Development Administration and Rural Development Administration to ensure that traditional economic development tools, such as incubators and grant programs, support the arts industry. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) are revising the legislation for introduction in 2021.
Read the CREATE Act issue brief as part of the full Congressional Arts Handbook.
The Promoting Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce (PLACE) Act, introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in January 2020, is a Senate bill that includes 11 provisions, some similar to the CREATE Act, and others further expanding the federal government’s support of the creative economy workforce specifically.
This Senate bill (there is not a House bill as of May 2020), aims to secure the future well-being of individuals, families, communities, and the nation by addressing federal workforce policies that will increase support for the creative economy. The PLACE Act was introduced to support the nation’s diversity, rich traditions, and vast creative talents. The United States needs to engage workers from around the country to develop, hone, and share expressions of their cultural heritage, creative collaborations, and artistic skills.
The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA) was introduced on Friday, August 13, 2021, by U.S. Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) and Jay Obernolte (R-CA) (co-leads) along with Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rosa Delauro (D-CT), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) (original co-sponsors).
CERA, a bipartisan bill, was introduced with over 175 endorsements from interest groups including the arts-related unions within the AFL-CIO, the American Planning Association, Transportation for America/SmartGrowth America, the National Alliance of Community and Economic Development Associations, the Freelancers Union, the Creative Economy Coalition, the Get Creative Workers Working Coalition, and Americans for the Arts.
It authorizes $300 million via a new granting program that will mitigate creative worker displacement, stimulate local creative workforce growth, strengthen connections for local creative small businesses and networks, create a pipeline for new creative jobs, enrich communities, increase access to culture, and invest in creative workers and local economies harmed by COVID-19. Advocates can contact their members of Congress via this E-alert to request they join the effort as a co-sponsor of the legislation.
ArtsVote 2020 Platform
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened awareness of social and racial injustice, we believe our nation needs to capitalize on the abundance of under-employed yet talented creative and racially underrepresented workers in America to aid in the recovery, unity, and healing of our nation’s communities and economy. As federal efforts are considered to rebuild and grow the nation's economy, we urge targeted federal policies to tap creative workers, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, and arts-related businesses and minority-run organizations to be featured in any infrastructure, workforce development, economic, and education efforts. Read the full ArtsVote 2020 Platform.
Biden/Harris Arts Support Petition
The petition to congratulate President Biden and VP Harris and urge them to boldly support the arts has been sent to the White House! Read the petition and view signatories.
Training & Events
Americans for the Arts offers ongoing virtual education to learn about an inclusive creative economy, policy and advocacy opportunities, and more. Please visit the ArtsU Creative Economy page to view all upcoming and past programs available on-demand.
Training on ArtsU
Exploring Inclusive Creative Economy Concepts and Definitions, Parts 1 & 2
Understanding and creating shared language is critical if we are to do our work thoughtfully and with intention. Talking about the “creative economy” can mean many things to people. As Americans for the Arts launches a multi-year effort to support the continued development of local creative economies, we begin with the basics of exploring the language we use and how it can translate across communities. These two-part webinars will delve into foundational concepts and definitions related to what an ‘inclusive creative economy’ means when it comes to talking about individuals, institutions, and economic systems. These programs will focus on a few terms, offer examples of how they can be applied, how other organizations and practitioners may use different language in different contexts, and provide space for discussion and questions. In this two-part webinar, practitioners will gain knowledge of equity-based terms and concepts for the purpose of working as informed community partners in the development of their local inclusive creative economy.
The original dates for these webinars were March 19 and April 20, 2021. Please visit ArtsU to watch the recordings.
Exploring Local and State Creative Workforce Recovery Programs
As communities begin the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic fallout, the creative economies in those communities must be part of the plan—both because there can be no recovery without a strong creative engine and because millions of creative workers are out of work and ready to do their part. In this webinar, learn about creative workforce initiatives from across the country, including doing deep-dives into two city-based initiatives in Seattle and Sacramento. Dig into the “how” of funding, structure, timing, and more, and come away with good ideas about how you can encourage your own city or state to utilize relief and recovery funding to put creative workers to work as part of the national, state, and local recovery process.
This webinar was originally held on March 31, 2021. Please visit ArtsU to watch the recording.
Local Arts Agencies & Creatives in Support of Black- and New American-Owned Businesses: Two Economic Recovery Models
How can artists, Local Arts Agencies, and nexus organizations boost economic development and recovery for Black-owned, refugee-, and New American-owned businesses? In this Member EX(change), peers learned about two creative models that offered ideas and strategies to support neighborhood businesses while putting creatives to work.
This Member EX(change) was originally held on December 14, 2020. Please visit ArtsU to watch the recording.
Creative Economy Programming at the Annual Convention
The 2021 Annual Convention, held virtually, will offer multiple opportunities to explore, learn and dialogue about the creative economy. A few sessions of note include:
Exploring How We Define the Creative Economy
As local arts leaders endeavor to make the case for their full and inclusive creative economy, often times the very notion of creating a community-specific definition in order to make that case can present a challenge. What’s “in” and what’s “out,” and how can this process be inclusive rather than exclusive? In this session, presenters Cezanne Charles, principal at rootoftwo, and Dee Schneidman, senior program director research and creative economy will dialogue the contrasting poles of defining through economic jobs data and defining through identifying unique community cultural assets. Attendees will hear about considerations in each approach, and how the two can be complimentary while centering those who are often left out and marginalized. Participants will explore definitions related to talking about the creative economy, and how presenters are using them in their methods to create definitions.
Where We Are, Where We’re Going: A Conversation About Our Current and Future Creative Economy
Many agree that our current economic systems aren’t working for most people. We know that our country and economy face big structural challenges and that bold solutions are needed to heal trauma, repair injustices, create real equity and establish pathways to quality jobs for all people. The arts and culture sector isn’t immune to this. But can we name exactly where we want to go and how to get to there?
In this lively field conversation, we offer space to explicitly name our current economic situation, with the intention of collectively understanding where we are, so that we can explicitly name the vision and economic frame to which we aspire. This conversation will explore language related to naming our existing system, such as racialized capitalism and neoliberalism, and establishing understanding of the goal of a solidarity economy, restorative economics, and Just Transition; and how these terms can come to life in arts and culture.
Read more and register for the Annual Convention today