New York -- Actors’ Equity Association – the national union for professional stage actors and stage managers working in live theatre – released the following statement in response to media reports that Oregon legislators voted to distribute $50 million in federal relief funds to arts and cultural organizations in crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Oregon understands that protecting its arts community is key to reviving its post-pandemic economy,” said Brandon Lorenz, national director of communications and public policy for Actors’ Equity Association, “Oregon has taken an important step for its arts sector, but Congress must be bolder on arts funding so that the entire arts and entertainment industry can recover.”

This week alone there have been reports that both Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and Shakespeare Theatre Company have had to make further cuts as the industry remains shut down and they have reached the end of their PPP loans.

According to Americans for the Arts, 3.6% Oregon’s gross state product lies in the arts and cultural sector. The Portland metropolitan area alone provides 11,505 jobs in the arts or entertainment sector totaling $268 million in household income.

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. 

Background: Equity is seeking an emergency $4 billion in supplemental funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and Corporation for Public Broadcasting, low interest loans for theaters that do not qualify for NEA funding, restoring the business tax deduction for the purchase of live entertainment tickets and the passage of H.R. 3121, the bipartisan Performing Artist Tax Parity Act. Read more on the priorities of creative professionals for recovery.

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  

July 15, 2020