New York— Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has released a statement in response to President Joe Biden proposing a new National Endowment for the Arts budget of $201 million. The proposed increase of $33.5 million is a record-high for the agency and an important step towards fully funding the NEA at $1 per capita, or $331 million. 

“We are so grateful to President Biden for this proposal, recognizing that the arts have not only immeasurable cultural value to the lives of Americans, but a huge financial impact," said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. “A robust NEA means more well-paying jobs in the arts sector in communities in every state. We hope that Congress follows the president’s lead as they work on the budget and make this historic change for the arts in this country." 

Background: Equity has long made public arts funding a cornerstone of the union’s advocacy. This included protesting multiple attempts for the Trump administration to eliminate the NEA altogether, and championing a budgetary increase of over $7 million last year. 

The union, which participates every year in Arts Advocacy Day, is currently asking that Congress increase NEA’s budget increase to $331 million, a dollar per capita.

The union has also called for a chief diversity officer at the NEA.

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.  #EquityWorks

June 1, 2021