Urgent Letter from Theatre Bay Area to the theatre & arts community.
March 17, 2017
I am sure many of you have received the alarming, but not unexpected, news that the President’s budget proposes to eliminate the nation's cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
First, let me be clear: the cultural heartbeat of our nation is in crisis.
The National Endowment for the Arts' budget of $148 million supports vital arts programs throughout the country, with funds reaching every Congressional district. In California, more than $9 million in NEA dollars arrived last year, with some $3 million being dispensed directly to well over 100 Bay Area arts groups.
These funds from the NEA support vital innovation and experimentation. Moreover they attract additional monies from public and private sources. On average, each dollar of NEA support generates another eight dollars in private and local funding for arts groups. So the loss of the NEA would have an impact far greater than the total of its present grant dollars.
It is a new world, yes. But there are actions we can take to move forward.
Earlier this week, I spoke about the challenges of this new world in my State of the Art Address at our Annual Conference. I called upon you to be brave. To make your voice heard both on stage and off.
Now, I am asking you to show up.
This Tuesday, March 21, is national Arts Advocacy Day in Washington. Theatre Bay Area's managing director Rachel Fink and I will be in DC joining more than 650 advocates from around the country, making the case to our Congressional delegation. You can add your voice by calling your Congressional Representative and our two Senators. (Direct lines to the DC offices of our Bay Area Congressional delegation are listed below) and by contacting The White House now: call the comment line at 202-456-1111.
The message is simple and the process is easy. Call the number provided, say you are a constituent and you are calling in solidarity with national Arts Advocacy Day and you urge the Member or Senator to support sustained funding for the NEA and the other cultural agencies. The staffer answering the phone will thank you, and your views will be noted in a report to the Congress Member at the end of the day.
Sign our letter http://p2a.co/gspL38m in support of the NEA. Working in partnership with Californians for the Arts, we have authored a letter now signed by nearly 1500 organizations and individuals from around the state. Add your name or that of your theatre, and Rachel and I will personally deliver hard copies of the letter and the signatories to the Congressional offices on March 21.
If you cannot make it to Washington, I encourage you to show up for Arts Advocacy Day here in San Francisco. At 12 noon, go to City Hall. Join a broad contingency of artists, arts administrators and advocate as we share with Supervisors and their staff our (1) policy priorities, (2) a message of "No Cuts," and (3) personal and collective stories about the transformative nature of cultural and creative expression to make San Francisco a better place for everyone.
Finally, I encourage you to keep making and seeing brave theatre. Go see a show. Support your fellow artists. Develop work that makes an impact. Make your voice heard and your values known!
Bay Area Congressional Delegation Phone Numbers
Senator Diane Feinstein 202-224-3841
Senator Kamala Harris 202-224-355
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 202-225-4965
Congresswoman Barbara Lee 202-225-2661
Congresswoman Jackie Speier 202-225-3531
Congressman Ro Khanna 202-225-2631
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo 202-225-8104
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren 202-225-3072
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier 202-225-2095
Congressman Eric Swalwell 202-225-5065
Congressman Jim Costa 202-225-3341