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A trillion in coronavirus relief cash! Anything for the arts?

The federal government’s getting ready to unleash a flood of coronavirus relief cash, much of which will, as usual, end up in big corporate coffers.

The Trump administration has asked for a trillion dollars so far, reportedly including $50 billion for the airline industry and $150 billion for businesses like cruise ships, casinos, and shopping malls.

Americans for the Arts thinks some of this windfall should go to nonprofit arts organizations which, they estimate, have already lost $3.2 billion to social distancing and shutdowns. 

According to their own survey of 3,000 organizations, 91 percent have had to cancel events and a third expect to lay off staff — and that’s just the beginning.  “Given that losses documented in the survey have occurred only in the last two months, Americans for the Arts anticipates additional billions in potential revenue losses for the nonprofit arts and culture field,” they say. 

They’re asking us to contact our congresspeople now, to tell them to earmark at least $4 billion for the arts (to be distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts), and to expand eligibility for business interruption relief programs so that artists and small arts businesses can participate.  They’ve made it easy to do from their website.  v

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