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Article Published: 28 Mar 2023

Arts Advocacy Update

New Report Shows Increased Economic Impact by U.S. Arts and Cultural Sector; Performing Arts Industry Continues to Struggle from Pandemic

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently released its annual joint report tracking the economic impact of the arts and cultural sector based on the latest economic data (2021). According to the report, the creative economy in 2021 represented 4.4% of the gross domestic product (GDP), or more than $1 trillion — a new high-water mark. While the total economic value added by arts and cultural industries grew by 13.7% from 2020–2021, several subsectors, including opera companies, dance and theater companies, music groups, and independent artists, still have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, in 2021, just under 4.9 million workers were employed to produce arts and cultural goods and services, which is less than the 2019 (pre-pandemic) level of 5.2 million but more than the 2020 level of 4.6 million workers. The report also shows that although 49 states saw increases in arts and cultural employment from 2020 to 2021, no state has reached its 2019 level. 


National Endowment for the Arts Supports President’s FY2024 Budget Request; Will Increase Its Arts and Cultural Sector Support

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) issued a press release supporting the president’s FY2024 budget request of $211 million (page 1,251), a $4 million increase over FY2023-enacted funding levels, for the federal agency, commencing October 1, 2023. The president also proposes $211 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) (page 1,253) for FY2024. The NEA intends to utilize its FY2024 funding to “make critical, targeted investments in the American people that will promote greater prosperity and economic growth," including accomplishing the following objectives:

  • Enable the NEA to support the still struggling, post-COVID arts and cultural sector; 
  • Expand support for historically underserved communities and first-time applicants; 
  • Provide additional opportunities for people to experience the arts, create, and express themselves;
  • Strengthen civic infrastructure through the arts; and 
  • Fortify the NEA’s administrative operations in order to best serve the public.

OPERA America will be working with its national partners across the arts and cultural sector to urge Congress to provide “at least $211 million” for the NEA. OPERA America will provide more information and guidance soon to its members and interested stakeholders so they can also urge their U.S. representatives and senators to support adequate funding for all federal relevant agencies to support the arts and cultural sector.


National Council on the Arts Schedules 209th Meeting for March 31

The National Council on the Arts will host its 209th meeting on Friday, March 31 from 9:30 a.m. EDT – 11:00 a.m. EDT at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The meeting is open to the public with an in-person option and virtual option. The Council will vote on recommendations and denials for the second round of FY2023 grantmaking by the National Endowment for the Arts. NEA announced the first round of grantees in January. NEA Chair Dr. Jackson will also provide updates, which will likely include an implementation update concerning its Equity Action Plan.


Bipartisan Legislation Introduced in U.S. Senate to Increase Federal Incentives for Charitable Giving

U.S. Senators James Lankford (OK) and Christopher Coons (DE) introduced the Charitable Act (S. 566) to increase federal incentives for charitable contributions. The legislation provides a universal, non-itemized deduction in taxable years beginning in 2023 or 2024 up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,500 for individual filers and around $9,000 for joint filers). The standard deductions for the tax year 2023 will be $13,850 for individual filers and those married filing separately and $27,700 for married joint filers. The bill has 13 co-sponsors and is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Similar bipartisan, bicameral legislation was introduced during the last Congress. Here are links to the congressional press release and the bill introduction press conference. OPERA America is a member of the Charitable Giving Coalition, which supports this legislation and is urging Congress to pass it immediately to provide continued relief to the arts and cultural sector struggling to recover from the pandemic. OPERA America will provide more information and guidance soon to its members and interested stakeholders to also urge their U.S. representatives and senators to act.