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Article Published: 05 Dec 2023

Arts Advocacy Update

OPERA America Receives Music Man Foundation Grant to Cultivate and Support a National Opera Advocacy Network to Secure Increased Federal Support; Please Fill Out Membership Survey by December 8

OPERA America is pleased to announce it has received a grant from the Music Man Foundation to develop a more effective national opera advocacy network to advance policy issues before all levels of government and secure a significant and sustained federal investment for the opera community and broader performing arts sector. OPERA America will develop various resources to be leveraged by the opera community and broader performing arts sector so companies and individual performing artists can increase their civic engagement, including developing working relationships with elected officials at all levels of government and collaborating with other community organizations on get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts.

The first step in this project involves collecting data about the field’s current capacity and advocacy success at all levels of government by OPERA America member companies, individual company staff, performing artists, and creative workers concerning various issues of interest.

Please fill out the following survey as an individual within the opera community concerning your advocacy efforts at all levels of government. This will help OPERA America achieve the objectives of this grant to help its members become effective advocates. Fill out the survey here: OPERA America Member Company Advocacy Survey. The survey completion deadline is EOD Friday, December 8, 2023.

Please contact Tony Shivers, director of government affairs, at TShivers@operaamerica.org with questions. We will keep you informed about this exciting and important opportunity to strengthen the field and the sector.


National Endowment for the Arts Announces New Grantmaking — ArtsHERE — to Support Increased Opportunities for Arts Participation; Interest Deadline is January 19

Just a reminder that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently announced a new grantmaking initiative to fund specific projects that will strengthen organizations’ capacity to sustain meaningful community engagement and increase arts participation for underserved groups and communities. The initiative — ArtsHERE — is a partnership with South Arts and in collaboration with the other five U.S. regional arts organizations. ArtsHERE will provide non-matching grant support for organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to equity within their practices and programming. Managed by South Arts, ArtsHERE will award about 95 nonprofit organizations with non-matching grants of $65,000 to $130,000 each.

Please note the following requirements and info for potential applicants.

  • A webinar for potential applicants is scheduled for November 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Please register here for the webinar.
  • Program staff from each of the regional arts organizations are available to answer questions and will be offering office hours. Please go here for further details.
  • All applicants must submit a statement of interest by January 19, 2024.
  • A select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full application by April 19, 2024.


Performing Arts Readiness Project to Provide Emergency Preparedness Grants; Rolling Application Deadlines in 2024

Just a reminder that the Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) Project is providing emergency preparedness grants to eligible performing arts organizations. PAR was established in 2017 to support performing arts organizations during disasters and other emergencies that may adversely impact their ability to operate and provide performances and other public programming. PAR includes outreach and community engagement grants, information resources, mentoring programs, and other types of support grants. Please note that PAR is currently providing the following grants for the performing arts sector:

  • Institutional Emergency Preparedness Planning Grants
    Grants of up to $7,250 will be awarded to 24 performing arts organizations for the creation of individual institutional emergency preparedness or Continuity of Operations (CoOP) plans. Projects must be completed in 10–12 months. Funds can be used for consultant fees, meeting expenses, travel, and training. Up to $2250 of the award can be used for disaster-related supplies and equipment. Previous PAR recipients are not eligible. The application can be found here. The application deadline is January 15, 2024, for projects beginning in 2024.

  • Network Grants
    Seven grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 each will be awarded for projects to support both the development of new or emerging disaster preparedness networks that include performing arts and culture organizations, and the expansion of existing networks to increase participation among performing arts organizations. Grant recipients will be provided with a two-day training session to strengthen effective facilitation skills and foster relationships among networks. Funds can be used for consultant fees, meeting expenses, travel, and training. Projects must be completed in 12–18 months. There is a rolling application deadline until March 1, 2024. The application can be found here.


Please Urge Your U.S. Representatives and Senators to Pass Increased Incentives for Charitable Giving

OPERA America is an active member of the Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC), which is aggressively advocating for passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House and Senate to reestablish and increase federal incentives for charitable giving. The legislation, the Charitable Act (H.R. 3435/S. 566), will reestablish and increase the universal, non-itemized charitable deduction to about $4,500 for individuals and about $9,000 for joint filers and married couples. The prior non-itemized deduction — $300 for individuals and $600 for joint filers and married couples — ended on December 31, 2021. Here is a CGC one-pager about the legislation, and here is information on how the non-itemized deduction has increased charitable giving between 2020–2021. You can quickly and effectively communicate and urge support for the introduced legislation by using this OPERA America action alert.