Arts and Culture
A Society That Invests in Arts is One Committed to All People
A society that invests in arts and humanities is one committed to people living well-rounded, happy, purposeful lives.
The many layers of arts and culture impact every corner of our society: rural and urban, young and aged, public sector and private -- in short, EVERYONE -- regardless of their income level. Creative arts and culture are essential components of our education, of our overall well-being.
Aside from improving our quality of life, the arts are a boon to our economy. Production of all arts and cultural goods in the U.S. added $764 billion to the economy in 2015. This included a $21 billion international trade surplus—a larger share of the nation’s economy (4.2 percent) than transportation, tourism, and agriculture (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The not-for-profit arts industry alone generates $166.3 billion in economic activity annually, which supports 4.6 million jobs and generates $27.5 billion in government revenue.
Unfortunately, our current administration continues to cut important funding and propose poor policy decisions. They are going so far as to propose eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Fortunately, the House and Senate both have proposals in place to preserve and increase funding for the NEA and NEH that have strong bipartisan support. In fact, record numbers of members signed letters earlier this year calling for a minimum of $155 million for each agency, which is met in the House and Senate bills -- which makes it even more disheartening that neither Georgia Senator nor the current 1st Congressional District signed on to show their support for a policy position that would contribute so much to society.
In the 1st Congressional District, arts and culture policy directly affects more than 1,138 registered arts-related businesses employing 4,277 people. (And this does not account for all the other businesses supporting the industry, like restaurants, hotels, etc.)
When I am elected to Congress, I will not only protect this important industry, I will expand our investment in and commitment to arts and culture as an integral part of the fabric of our nation by:
- Appropriating more than $155 million for the NEA to help preserve access to cultural education and promote innovation and creativity in communities throughout the country, and at levels proportional to when the NEA was first enacted by Congress in 1965.
- Commiting to join the Congressional Arts Caucus, where I'll serve alongside the only other two Georgian Representatives, Hank Johnson and John Lewis.
- Commiting to join the Congressional STEAM Caucus and serve alongside Representatives Sanford Bishop, Hank Johnson, and David Scott, to further advance the education of our children through a balanced curriculum of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
- Supporting and fully funding arts education through Student Support and Enrichment Grants under Title IV, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Assistance for Arts Education (AAE).
- Opening up access to higher education for everyone by implementing tuition-free public education, expansion of financial aid resources, and improved options for the forgiveness of student loan debt. In the short-term, I'll oppose policies such as the PROSPER Act, designed to eliminate student loan forgiveness, subsidized loans, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program.
- Reauthorizing and fully funding the Office of Museum Services within the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Museums alone provide 726,000 jobs annually and contribute $50 billion to the U.S. Economy- $12 billion in annual tax revenue.
- Advocating for a better tax policy that reinstates and expands incentives for charitable donations, allows proper valuation of donated art, and maintain the Historic Tax Credit (which has helped preserve over 42,000 historic sites, including in our own Hostess City, Savannah).
- Implementing tax fairness for artists and creators, with their donations being valued at the fair-market value for their work and not just the cost of materials; deduction of unreimbursed business expenses; and better access to the low-income housing tax credit program.
- Fully funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which allows access to arts and culture as well as local news to everyone, and is sometimes the only broadcasting source in rural and underserved communities. Nearly 200 million people watch PBS weekly, and over 36 million people listen to public radio.
- Advancing creative arts small businesses by supporting the CREATE Act. The Act will recognize artists, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profit arts organizations as contributors to the small business community. This Act will also contribute to and support the industry through an expanding of loan and grant programs within the Small Business Administration (SBA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Also, providing FEMA disaster relief for self-employed workers.
- Promoting greater international arts collaboration to strengthen the exchange of arts and culture globally. This will be accomplished through funding and expanding exchange programs, and improving the guest visa program by expediting the process at no additional cost, or at a minimum to have a timely and consistent treatment of guest visas. The exchange of cultures increases understanding and diplomacy between nations and contributes to national security. And, with the current administration, we need cultural diplomacy now more than ever.
- Supporting the film and television industry in the 1st District. By helping preserve tax credits, opposing discriminatory legislation (which drives away the industry), and highlighting the availability of decent paying jobs through apprenticeships, we can grow the industry on our coast and contribute to a thriving economy.
- Fully supporting and expanding art and culture therapies for military and veterans, senior citizens, and the disabled.
- Advocating for fair compensation for music creators by, in part, opposing the Local Radio Freedom Act, which does not compensate for performances on terrestrial radio, and by ensuring proper royalty payments to artists and creators.
- Supporting the Saving Transit Art Resources Act, to reinstate the flexibility to allow transit authorities, at all government levels, to incorporate art into federally-funded transit projects and facilities. Currently, no federal funds can be used for “costs of incorporating art or non-functional landscaping into facilities, including the costs of an artist on the design team.”
- Overturning the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order. Restoring what we have enjoyed as Net Neutrality is crucial to the arts and culture industry, and to every consumer. By preventing internet service providers from blocking and slowing content for their maximized profits, we can help small businesses, artists, and cultural communities easily access the world from the internet.
As we understood when developing our country, our nation’s investment in arts and culture is not only a sound financial investment, it is also crucial to the health and education of society as a whole. We must not allow our arts and cultures investments to be dismantled or eroded. I am committed to protecting and expanding this important component of our American life and its contributions on a global scale.
For more arts and culture statistics, visit:
Bureau of Economic Analysis:
Americans for the Arts:
The production of all arts and cultural goods in the U.S. added $764 billion to the economy in 2015.