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An open letter from 28 Atlanta arts leaders on the pandemic monetary disaster

This week, a various group of 28 Atlanta arts leaders banded collectively to write down an open letter that discusses the challenges of surviving the pandemic, which has confirmed to be “the most important disruption to the American Arts sector in historical past, and essentially the most harmful for the reason that Nice Despair.”

The letter concisely articulates the disaster confronted by the humanities neighborhood as all of us wrestle and combat to get better from the financial devastation of the pandemic. Most, if not all, arts group face monetary challenges. The letter affords 5 tangible methods to essentially change and remodel how arts and tradition are financially supported.

Due to its significance, ArtsATL is publishing the open letter in its entirety under:

An Open Letter from the Metro Atlanta Arts Neighborhood within the Wake of the Lyric’s Closing

On Tuesday, March seventh, we have been devastated to listen to that the Atlanta Lyric Theatre has shut down after 42 seasons. Not solely is its closing a loss for our vibrant trade, additionally it is an indicator that if left unchecked, the disaster within the theatre and humanities sectors brought on by the COVID-19 shutdowns will proceed to ravage our neighborhood.

Atlanta is a good theatre metropolis, distinctive from every other within the nation. Its theatrical ecosystem encompasses small entrepreneurial corporations led by thrilling younger artists, a vibrant neighborhood of midsized theatres who focus on creating programming that displays the neighborhood in and round Atlanta, and huge theatres nationally acknowledged as scorching spots for producing new performs and Broadway tryouts. By means of all of it runs an entrepreneurial spirit, a dedication to new work, and the need to broaden audiences and develop what it means to be an artist, a southerner or perhaps a individual.

Our native theatre is a outstanding alternative to hone the craft of artists. Steve Yockey, Danielle Deadwyler, Jennifer Garner, Donald Glover, Amy Adams, Julia Roberts, RuPaul, and Kenny Leon, amongst many extra, began their careers on and round Metro Atlanta phases. It’s this dedication to discovering and supporting native southern expertise that makes the theatre trade so vibrant and permits us to offer the robust basis that the TV and movie trade have constructed upon so spectacularly. Marvel Studios, Tyler Perry Studios, and Netflix have all discovered a house right here in and round Atlanta, largely resulting from beneficiant funding by way of tax breaks that they obtain from the Georgia authorities but additionally due to the expertise the native theatre cultivates yr after yr.

Our theatre neighborhood’s vibrancy is mirrored throughout the town’s non revenue arts sector. Anyplace you look in Metro Atlanta one can find dancers, singers, musicians and visible artists creating and defining a brand new cultural vocabulary that’s distinctive to our metro. Past the creativity and pleasure this trade brings to our metropolis additionally it is an financial and job creating energy home. The Atlanta Regional Fee in 2017 estimated that the non revenue arts sector by itself was a $719.8 million greenback trade that supported greater than 23,000 full time jobs throughout the town, greater than Residence Depot, Piedmont Well being Care or Publix, and that the Atlanta arts neighborhood contributes greater than $65 million to native and state authorities income by means of taxes yearly.

The financial impression of patrons who attend arts programming is even larger. Every patron spends between $23 and $48 each time they attend an occasion, virtually all of which is spent at native companies. In 2015 the Arts and Financial prosperity report estimated that the mixed impression of the non revenue arts sector and the patrons who attended occasions was greater than $600 million {dollars} in Metro Atlanta. This outstanding impression is along with the immeasurable cultural enrichment that theaters and humanities venues present to their communities, particularly to college students whose faculties depend on theaters and cultural establishments throughout Atlanta to curate inventive programming that conjures up kids to dream, discover and attain for one thing new by means of artwork.

Arts and theatre corporations throughout the nation are at an inflection level. Now’s the time to behave to make sure theatre and the humanities keep on the heart of Metro Atlanta communities.

COVID-19 was the most important disruption to the American Arts sector in historical past, and essentially the most harmful for the reason that Nice Despair. And it’s nonetheless threatening our trade. From the elevated prices we have now all seen since returning to work, viewers members’ ongoing well being considerations, and rolling shutdowns as firm members check optimistic for COVID-19, the trade remains to be in turmoil. Due to this turmoil, nationwide solely about half of pre-pandemic audiences have returned — severely limiting earned income because the trade rebuilds its viewers base.

Coupling decrease than common attendance with the truth that arts funding is the smallest fraction of philanthropic giving signifies that there are merely not sufficient assets out there for the quick time period well being and long run viability of the Metro Atlanta cultural arts neighborhood. Sadly, the problem has been exacerbated put up pandemic as neighborhood funders and basis leaders who beforehand funded the humanities have considerably delayed releasing funds, haven’t centered on the humanities in the course of the pandemic and restoration, or have ended their arts help altogether. Midsize and small corporations are much more challenged by the present funding panorama as a result of they’re much less in a position to navigate disruption in funding.

We suggest a five-pronged strategy to essentially change how arts and tradition are supported within the metropolis and transfer the trade ahead not primarily based on shortage however as an alternative on a mannequin designed to let the humanities thrive as a core worth of our metropolis and state.

First, we’ll ask main philanthropic foundations and space philanthropists to make a transformational, one-time reward to each arts group in Metro Atlanta. In cities throughout the US particular person philanthropists and foundations have realized that now’s the time to behave to stabilize native communities of arts organizations. We want that management in Atlanta.

Second, we’ll suggest doubling the grant making capability of the town, county, and state arts places of work throughout the metro whereas concurrently slicing purple tape in order that awarded funds will be accessed shortly. Based on ArtsATL, Georgia nonetheless ranks close to the underside of arts funding, rating forty ninth out of all states. By including lower than 10 million {dollars} mixed throughout all state, county and metropolis budgets to the grant funding arm of arts companies native organizations would have extra constant funding out there, extra organizations may obtain funding and funding ranges could possibly be elevated. This deeper funding is a win-win, funding supplied to native arts corporations comes again to the granting authorities companies by an element of a minimum of 3 to 1.

Third, we’ll ask the Neighborhood Basis of Higher Atlanta to rent an arts program director shortly and provides that individual satisfactory workers and assets to develop new inventive assets from nationwide funders, not simply shepard current funds. For too lengthy the humanities have been relegated to an underfunded and understaffed division on the Neighborhood Basis for Higher Atlanta and at foundations throughout the town. To vary the system we want a metro vast advocate who’s energetic within the nationwide philanthropic neighborhood whereas additionally being dedicated to a thriving native arts scene.

Fourth, we’ll ask that the manufacturing tax credit score loved by the movie and tv trade be prolonged to non revenue arts organizations headquartered and producing reside performing arts productions in Georgia. With out us offering the coaching and yr spherical alternatives, the movie trade wouldn’t have the entry to expertise they so rightfully take pleasure in. By extending the tax credit score to work produced on the phases throughout the state we’ll create a extra holistic ecosystem.

Fifth, we’ll name upon manufacturing and media corporations primarily based in Georgia to hitch us as we advocate for elevated arts funding whereas concurrently creating deeper working relationships between for-profit and nonprofit arts organizations. Strengthening the symbiotic relationship between the movie and media trade and native artists will be sure that each thrive.

How will you assist as a patron:

You probably have not attended for the reason that shut down, come again, we want you. Ticket gross sales are important to our well being however so is phrase of mouth advertising and marketing and engaged audiences. In the event you can’t afford a ticket please ask about reductions and particular codes. Almost each firm on the town has particular performances and admissions which can be discounted to make sure anybody who desires to can get in. We’re all making an attempt to maintain our ticket costs low to stay accessible to the best variety of folks potential, even within the face of inflation and rising prices.

In the event you’re somebody who can afford a bit of extra, contemplate including a donation every time you buy tickets in order that we are able to proceed paying artists pretty. Contemplate becoming a member of the hundreds of people that have donated money and time to the humanities all through the shutdown and restoration. With out the outstanding help of donors giant and small the humanities wouldn’t have survived, we thanks for all that you’ve completed for the trade.

You probably have been coming, inform your family and friends in regards to the work you see on stage. Advocate for the humanities at your organization, put up to your social media accounts and produce up the final present you noticed if you find yourself out with associates. The very best advertising and marketing we have now is phrase of mouth — and we want you to get the phrase out.

Uncover new theatres. Discover a brand new style. With greater than 30 theaters and a whole lot of arts corporations within the metropolis there are seemingly a minimum of a dozen you haven’t attended, or a style you haven’t seen just lately. From puppets to improv and from Shakespeare to world premiere new works, you could find something on stage in Atlanta. To not point out choral music, fashionable dance, indie films and lectures by well-known artists.

What we promise:

Along with your help we’ll proceed to supply work fueled by our neighborhood. Queer youth, a lady battling psychological well being, Black entrepreneurs, and younger ladies in search of a more in-depth relationship with God have been all portrayed onstage final weekend throughout Atlanta phases and we pledge to proceed to characterize this metropolis and all of the aspects that make it nice.

We decide to amplifying thrilling new voices and showcasing outstanding, numerous expertise that displays our area. The Metro Atlanta arts neighborhood’s potential to nurture rising expertise on native phases earlier than launching it onto the nationwide stage signifies that our subsequent era of tastemakers could have deep ties to Georgia.

And we promise to proceed bringing our neighborhood collectively. To entertain, to discover and to take a seat some time in one other world, in one other individual’s fact, and possibly turn out to be just a bit nearer.

Your assistance is essential to our future, however collectively we are able to solely go up to now. We want neighborhood funders, philanthropic leaders, and political leaders to hitch us. With their help, we are able to chart a brand new path ahead for the humanities in Atlanta by seizing the chance offered throughout this difficult time and to rewrite the best way arts and tradition are funded and supported. If we are able to accomplish even a fraction of what we suggest right here, we are able to write a brand new future for the humanities in Atlanta and Georgia, solidifying our standing as a middle for arts and tradition in America.

In case you are serious about signing on to help this work, electronic mail [email protected]

In case you are a funder serious about speaking about the right way to make a transformative reward within the sector, please contact [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]

In case you are a authorities chief or might help advance the concepts round an arts tax credit score or in creating native funding for the humanities electronic mail [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]

In case you are a patron and wish to make a donation or attend a efficiency please go to the web site of any of the cosigned corporations. You probably have different concepts on how we are able to advance the humanities in Atlanta or the state or Georgia, electronic mail [email protected] Thanks from all of us within the Metro Atlanta Arts Neighborhood.



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