New York— Actors’ Equity Association – the national union for professional stage actors and stage managers working in live theater – released the following statement in reaction to media reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced he would be retracting grants awarded to arts institutions statewide. Following that, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney proposed the elimination of the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.
“Theatre is an indispensable part of the financial ecosystem," said Aaron Thompson, Eastern Regional Director of Actors’ Equity Association. “The arts support the service and hospitality sector and funding the arts is not a luxury. With revenue streams cut off, arts institutions need support more than ever in order to survive this pandemic.”
The average nonprofit arts attendee spends another $31.41 per person, per show beyond the cost of admission, according to Americans for the Arts. That includes spending at restaurants, parking, and even the babysitter. Nationally, this spending supports 2.3 million jobs, provides $46.6 billion in household income, and generates $15.7 billion in total government revenue.
According to Americans for the Arts, the Philadelphia metropolitan area alone provides 55,225 jobs in the arts or entertainment sector totaling $1.3 billion in household income. However, according to the NASAA, the state ranks 21st nationally in terms of legislated arts funding per capita, at $0.82.
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks
May 14, 2020