The SAAC mission is to enrich the community through the arts. We work to increase access to the arts through all segments of our community including arts experiences and arts education for young and old alike. Because exposure to the arts has real, measurable impact. Research from the U.S. Department of Justice demonstrates students who participate in the arts, both in school and after school, show increased academic performance. Data from The College Board shows students who take 4 years of arts and music classes while in high school score 98 points better on their SATs than students who took only a half year or less. The National Institute on Aging reports that “research on music, theater, dance, creative writing, and other participatory arts shows promise for improving older adults’ quality of life and well-being, from better cognitive function, memory, and self-esteem to reduced stress and increased social interaction.”
These results show that the arts are far from expendable.
But as economic anxieties rise, the funding of arts experiences and education is threatened. What can you do to help? It’s simple. The resources below will help you make a real impact in keeping the arts alive and accessible throughout Illinois.
The Put Creative Workers to Work policies, created by over 100 partners and endorsed by over 2,300 creative businesses and creative workers, outlines a plan to help the cultural sector restart and be a vital component of local economic recovery.
The platform and some other information about the effort are now available on the new website, http://www.creativeworkers.net.
On a federal level, the coalition has continued to push White House officials, members of Congress, the business sector, and others to stand up for dedicated federal recovery funding for the creative economy in the forthcoming infrastructure bill. The proposals seek $20 billion (less than 1% of the $3t overall plan) in recovery funding, which, if implemented, would save or create over 300,000 jobs.
Here are a few easy ways to push for action on the federal/national level:
- Get business sector support. Right now, the coalition leadership is working with our partners at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives to gather signatories on a letter from chambers of commerce to Congress advocating for recovery funding. Please consider sending this letter and sign-on page along to your local Chamber of Commerce with encouragement that they join the growing list before April 11, 2021.
- Tell your local media. We’ve created a Media Alert that you can quickly customize and send to your local media outlets to raise awareness about the Put Creative Workers to Work platform. Please consider visiting this Media Alert, filling in a few fields, and clicking send to get the message out there!
- Write to the White House or your Congressional Representatives. Click here to get template language for a letter you can write to senior leadership in the White House or Cabinet departments, or can encourage your Senators and Representatives to write, to secure $20 billion in dedicated funding for creative economic recovery in the White House’s forthcoming Build Back Better recovery proposal. A 13-tweet thread version of the Letter to the White House also exists, and if you’re inclined you can retweet that as well.
Here are some resources that you may find useful:
- Tell the COVID impact story for your state. Here is a collection of one-sheets by state that outline the size of your state’s creative economy and the impact COVID has had on it.
- See (and contribute!) examples of local creative workforce projects. The coalition has begun compiling a list of creative workforce projects happening across the country. You can click here to add a local creative workforce project from your community, or click here to see what’s been submitted.
- Share the impact of COVID-19 on the creative sector. Here is a one-sheet updated weekly with collected information from various research on the impact of the pandemic on cultural organizations and individual creative workers.