POV: What the Biden-Harris Administration Can Do to “Make the Arts Better” | BU today

To survive COVID-19, the populations most at risk need a bullet in the arm. Whether you live in Alaska or Massachusetts, one dose of vaccine – more likely two – is what separates you from pre-pandemic normalcy. Arts industries are no different. While waiting for their audience to be vaccinated, they also need an injection of financial support.

The arts seem to be doing well. They are not. Yes, tens of thousands of people paid to watch a live production of Ratatouille, which started out as a TikTok musical. Yes, the “@Home” concert series allowed us to travel virtually to the living rooms of our favorite singers and musicians. However, creative artists are among the first to recognize that these high-profile works cannot replace the thrill of the live event.

Part of the magic of the performing arts is in the experience of sitting or standing alongside community members, sharing a moment, feeling collectively moved by laughing or crying, and maybe recognize kinship and connection with others. Even recorded arts are better when the experience is shared. The cinematic blockbuster is born after the arrival of television because people have realized that they particularly like to meet certain stories outside of their homes and with strangers.

The pandemic has closed the doors to live performance venues that have held, nurtured and strengthened the community. The arts industries need help to recover: funding as well as expressions of support. Here’s what the Biden-Harris administration can do to Rebuild better Arts.

Forgive loans to nonprofit arts organizations. The Paycheque Protection Program (PPP) has been a lifeline for small and medium-sized arts organizations. Although leaves and layoffs have been rampant in the arts industries, the P3 has kept job losses from becoming even more severe. Although PPP loans were designed potentially be remitted, the uncertainty as to whether the loans Actually will bee forgiven inhibits planning and investing for the future. Canceling all loans used to preserve jobs in nonprofit arts sectors would allow arts industries to plan for 2022 and beyond.

Save our steps. Last December, the Save Our Stages Act (SOS), which created the (less cool) Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), was enacted. This grant will distribute approximately $ 15 billion to a range of arts organizations and live events – from theaters and cinemas to museums and zoos – adversely affected by COVID. Although funding has been approved, instructions on how to apply have yet to be released by the US Small Business Administration. Unlike PPP, SVOG (aka SOS fund) will have fewer restrictions and allow a broader set of investments (such as the purchase of equipment and refurbishment of facilities) to help the arts resume their activities. Immediate opening of the application portal (as well as rapid processing of applications) is required.

Create a COVID-19 working group on the reopening of the performing arts. Breath plays a leading role in the performing arts. Wynton Marsalis’s solo can only happen because he literally forces air through a trumpet. Singing, playing, dancing and more require the forced expulsion of air. As the threat of COVID begins to diminish thanks to widespread vaccinations, more studies and better federal guidance are needed on how to safely bring people together to create and perform in front of a live audience. What steps are needed to bring people together – possibly shoulder to shoulder – to share the experience of the live event?

Model how to support the arts in person. In the same way that President Biden and Vice President Harris invited the American public to watch them get vaccinated, they should publicly portray themselves as art consumers when the time is right. They should be among the first to show everyone that it is safe to return to the theater or concert hall. They should show us what an engaged audience looks like in a world where COVID may still exist, but can be managed. Through their actions, President Biden and Vice President Harris can remind us that we cannot collectively experience the fullness of life without the performing arts.

“POV” is a review page that provides timely feedback from students, faculty and staff on a variety of issues: campus, local, state, national or international. Anyone interested in submitting an article, which should be around 700 words, should contact John O’Rourke at [email protected] BU today reserves the right to reject or modify submissions. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and are not intended to represent the views of Boston University.

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