Saturday, February 7, 2009

More on the arts and the economic stimulas package

I am going to post this update from the Americans for the Arts organization with just these comments - I expect McCain (I won't repeat what my WWII vet father calls him) would vote to kill the arts but I am shocked by some otherwise smart Democrats making the same stupid vote. I also noticed that I could not find a single Republican willing to vote to save the arts (Liberman does not count as he is an independent and former Dem).

From the Americans for the Arts:
Breaking News
On the afternoon of Feb 6th, the U.S. Senate, during their consideration of the economic recovery bill, approved an egregious amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that stated “None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.” Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a wide vote margin of 73-24, and surprisingly included support from many high profile Senators including Chuck Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and several other Democratic and Republican Senators.
If the Coburn amendment language is included in the final conference version of this legislation, many arts groups will be prevented from receiving economic recovery funds from any portion of this specific stimulus bill. It is clear that there is still much work to be done in the Senate and in the media about the role that nonprofit arts organizations and artists play in the nation’s economy and workforce.
Plan of Action
1. Arts advocates need to quickly contact Senators who voted for the Coburn Amendment and express your extreme disappointment with their vote. We need these Senators to know that their vote would detrimentally impact nonprofit arts organizations and the jobs they support in their state. We have crafted a customized message for you to send to your Senators based on their vote on the Coburn Amendment.
The correct letter, customized to each of your Senators will appear when you enter your zip code. If your Senator voted for this funding prohibition, you can send them a message expressing your disappointment and ask them to work to delete this language in the final conference bill with the House. If your Senator voted against the Coburn Amendment, you can thank them for their support of the arts.
2. We need as many news articles as possible this coming week to publish stories about the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry and how the recession is negatively affecting arts groups across the country. Please click here to customize an opinion editorial to your local media. We have provided you with easy-to-use talking points.

How the Senate voted on (Yea means they voted NOT to include the arts in the economic recovery bill)

Akaka (D-HI), Nay Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Yea Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea Burris (D-IL), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Yea Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Yea Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Not Voting Hagan (D-NC), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johanns (R-NE), Yea Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kaufman (D-DE), Nay Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Nay Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Yea Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea Thune (R-SD), Yea
Udall (D-CO), Yea Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stand Up and Be Counted Artists Survey & Comments on the Economic Stimulas package

In April I posted about an important artist survey here in MA. I have received an email that the deadline has been extended until this Saturday (9 Feb) to accommodate some artist organizations that are running programs which include having artists complete this survey. You DO NOT have to be a "WORKING ARTIST" to participate in this survey. You can be a full-time, part-time or "hobby" artist. The survey is called "Stand Up and Be Counted" and is going to be used to show the state legislators that we are a constituency to be recognized. It is modeled on the 2007 Minnesota "Artists Count" survey. To take this survey (only takes a few minutes) go to There is an optional section on your 2006 reported income but you are in no way obligated to complete that section. They also break it up into sections so if you only have time to fill in section One your survey still counts!

At a time when the Republican Senators down in Washington are claiming that putting stimulus money into the Endowment for the Arts is wasteful and should not be part of the economic stimulus package, it is more important then ever for artists to make themselves heard. The claims of these Senators make it appear that artists who make their living, or part of their living off of the arts are not really "working" and that any stimulus to help them during this economic crisis is not helping to create jobs or put money back into the economy. Every time I heard their comments claiming this was just pork barrel waste by the Democrats I wanted to scream "So what you are telling all the artists, musicians, dancers, and actors of America is 'Go get a REAL' job'". If you are an artist reading this who is represented by one of these Republican Senators, please email them or call them right now and make it clear to their staff that YOU are a voting constituent and artists are listening and watching what they are saying. Tell them to leave the money for the arts in the package before too many working artists are forced to give up their work and go into the regular work force to compete for jobs that the rest of their constituency are competing for. FDR knew he needed to keep artists working and not needing to compete for regular jobs - why can't these fools understand why that money is actually important to everyone?