Tuesday, October 25, 2022
On October 14, 2022, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) introduced the Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere (CREATIVE) Act. The legislation builds on the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) critical assistance for local arts agencies (LAAs) and arts organizations by expanding their grantmaking capacity.
“I am very pleased that the CREATIVE Act has been introduced. This key legislation prioritizes the infrastructure needs for cultural facilities that uplift arts and culture in BIPOC, rural, and other historically underserved groups,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “This vital capital for infrastructure supports the cultural and educational power of the arts and a multitude of programs across the nation and broadens access to the arts and arts education, especially at the community level. The CREATIVE Act builds on the NEA’s vital support for local arts agencies and arts organizations by expanding their grantmaking capacity and comes at a critical time when our creative sector and artists are rebounding from the devastating effects of the pandemic. I thank Representative Bonamici—she is a true and tireless champion for the arts and arts education.”
The CREATIVE Act would expand access to capital for facilities by allowing LAAs, museums, and 501c3s to receive grants of up to $5 million to construct and acquire new facilities, maintain and improve existing facilities, or hire staff or produce art at existing facilities.
The legislation supports arts productions, performances, and programs from linguistically and culturally diverse populations who are considered ethnic, cultural, religious, or linguistic minorities. The bill also aims to reach communities that have limited financial means to self-fund such projects as well as offer grants to entities that further arts education for the populations served.
This bill’s introduction comes at a critical time. At the height of the pandemic, 63% of artists and creatives experienced unemployment, which resulted in a $15.2 billion national financial loss. While most artists have returned to work, pandemic relief funding has been spent and the fear persists of job loss and venue closures.
The bill is also crucial for arts education. Quality arts education programs continue to be limited or not available in many schools despite arts education programs thriving in some communities. A study from the NEA shows that, since the 1980s, Black and Latinx students saw steep declines in arts education. The CREATIVE Act would bring communities together around arts education.
Pandemic funding highlighted the importance of the NEA. A critical source of federal funding for local arts organizations, the NEA provided many local and state arts agencies and nonprofit arts organizations with grants to support pandemic recovery. Arts organizations used this funding to maintain and improve their facilities, retain artists and other workers, and continue the production of programs and performances. The NEA’s emergency support for arts organizations during the pandemic and its longstanding grant programs render the NEA instrumental in advancing arts and culture in the United States.