“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” - George Lucas
We all need a little bit of the “force” right now. Here are 5 advocacy areas that ArtPride New Jersey is focusing on in the reality of the coronavirus situation.
- ArtPride will continue to voice concern about the welfare of the field to the New Jersey legislature throughout the spring as NJ State budget deliberations continue. Look for new action alerts that detail the Governor’s appropriations for arts, history, and tourism in the FY21 NJ State Budget.
Last week, we learned that the appropriations fall $5 million short of the new minimum levels specified in P.L. 2019 c.333 (formerly known as A3101), signed by the Governor on January 13. This means an appropriation of $19.858 million for the NJ State Council on the Arts instead of $22.68 million (the new minimum by law). It will be important for advocates to keep this on the minds of the New Jersey state legislature, since only they can make changes in the budget to assure the law is honored.
ArtPride staff testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee last week, pointing out the shortage in the Governor’s budget proposal and the negative impact on not only arts, history, and tourism state appropriations, but the potential impact on revenue
collected by the NJ Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee.
- While the National Arts Action Summit is cancelled, ArtPride staff will host a webinar to brief those who were planning to attend on federal cultural policy. This webinar will take place on Thursday, March 19 at 3 p.m. Additionally, several members of U.S. Congress will still hold phone conferences with constituents on March 31. If you are in Districts 3, 4, 10 or 12 (Reps. Kim, Smith, Payne, or Watson Coleman) and wish to participate in the calls or join in on the webinar, please email Vince Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ArtPride New Jersey is part of the State Arts Action Network (SAAN) of Americans for the Arts, and keeps in very close contact with arts advocacy colleagues throughout the nation. We will meet weekly throughout the coronavirus situation to share how we can collectively advocate for artists and arts organizations on federal and state levels.
Americans for the Arts has a rapid response survey that was shared by ArtPride and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and remains on ArtPride’s website. Please take a moment to complete this survey and help gauge the economic impact of cancelled performances, contracts, and events. The survey is open-ended and you may complete it more than once as you assess financial loss. Data will be analyzed by AFTA staff and shared to better understand impact both nationally and specific to New Jersey.
Similarly, please stay in touch with the NJ Center for Nonprofits that advocates for the entire nonprofit field, reminding us that the arts are a valuable part of our state’s nonprofit sector.
- ArtPride staff will continue to respond to press inquiries and remind the public in multiple ways that it’s not just movie theaters that are closed. Please use the JAM network Facebook group to see how other arts groups and arts professionals are dealing with this crisis, and to share creative ways to keep your audiences and patrons engaged.
New Jersey is known for its collaborative and generously sharing creative community, and ArtPride will share your posts as alternative content is developed.
- Lastly, stay safe, remain creative as a way to survive the emotional strain of the restrictions that are now part of daily life, and may the force continue to be with you!