Monday, February 9, 2009

Breaking news!

Hey all,

So the following post is long, but please, do check it out and take action in any of the ways listed that suit your abilities or knowledge. As someone who grew up in some of the not so best neighborhoods, taking art classes and learning to play an instrument throughout my public schooling was crucial to my development. As an adult I have benefited from and worked to support various community art programs many of whom received various local and federal grant funding. Funding for the arts benefits whole communities on every possible level whether through obvious means in the form of public art projects and festivals to more subtle ways like inspiring young people to develop their minds through art, thus keeping them off the streets. Art is not a superficial luxury, it is crucial to healthy communities.

Again, think about your own experience with art and it's importance to you and help us out!


This afternoon the U.S. Senate, during their consideration of the
economic recovery bill, approved an egregious amendment offered by Sen.
Tom Coburn (R-OK) that stated "None of the amounts appropriated or
otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or
other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming
pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway
beautification project." Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a
wide vote margin of 73-24, and surprisingly included support from many
high profile Senators including Chuck Schumer of New York, Dianne
Feinstein of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Bob Casey of
Pennsylvania, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin,
and several other Democratic and Republican Senators.

If the Coburn amendment language is included in the final conference
version of this legislation, many arts groups will be prevented from
receiving economic recovery funds from any portion of this specific
stimulus bill. It is clear that there is still much work to be done in
the Senate and in the media about the role that nonprofit arts
organizations and artists play in the nation's economy and workforce.

Plan of Action

1. Arts advocates need to quickly contact Senators who voted for the
Coburn Amendment and express your extreme disappointment with their
vote. We need these Senators to know that their vote would
detrimentally impact nonprofit arts organizations and the jobs they
support in their state. We have crafted a customized message for you
to send to your Senators based on their vote on the Coburn Amendment.
The correct letter, customized to each of your Senators will appear
when you enter your zip code. If your Senator voted for this funding
prohibition, you can send them a message expressing your disappointment
and ask them to work to delete this language in the final conference
bill with the House. If your Senator voted against the Coburn
Amendment, you can thank them for their support of the arts.

2. We need as many news articles as possible this coming week to
publish stories about the economic impact of the nonprofit arts
industry and how the recession is negatively affecting arts groups
across the country. Please click here to customize
an opinion editorial to your local
media. We have provided you with easy-to-use talking points.

3. Next week, Americans for the Arts will be sending you another action
alert that targets the White House and the soon-to-be-named Senators
and Representatives who will serve as conferees to the final economic
recovery bill. Please be prepared to take action on this alert as

4. Americans for the Arts itself is submitting op-eds to several
national newspapers and online blogs. We are enlisting high profile
leaders to co-sign these letters as well.

5. Americans for the Arts is purchasing full-page ads titled "The
Arts = Jobs" in Washington's top political newspapers in Roll
Call, Politico and The Hill on Monday and Tuesday of next week. We
encourage you to post the ad on your social network sites.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official
member of the Arts Action Fund. Play your part by joining the Arts
Action Fund today -- it's free and simple.


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