CriticalDance Forum

Arts Jobs Are Jobs, Too
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Author:  salzberg [ Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:14 am ]
Post subject:  Arts Jobs Are Jobs, Too

Recently, I had dinner with some lovely people and the conversation turned, as it so often does these days, to politics and economics. I mentioned the importance of arts funding, and one of my companions -- an artist herself -- said something like, "I care about arts funding, too, but jobs are more important."


It's time we stopped thinking of ourselves as charity cases. Arts jobs are no less important just because we make theatre (or music, or sculptures, or ballets, or....) than they would be if we sold cars or built computers -- in fact, they have even more impact, proportionally, on our local economies. The arts are huge consumers of materials, which of course must be manufactured and transported and, of course, artists and other employees of arts organizations buy the same groceries, clothing, automobiles, and other goods as do those in other occupations. People who attend arts events are likely to dine out before, and go to bars afterward. In the United States, more people attend professional arts events than attend professional sports. I've seen estimates that every government dollar that goes to arts funding has between six and seven dollars of economic impact.

I'm writing this in September of 2010. In 7 weeks, here in the US, we'll be electing senators, members of Congress, legislators, and governors. This is a time when our elected officials -- and those who want to be our elected officials -- are most likely to listen to us., demand...that they tell you their positions on arts funding. You can post this note on your own Facebook profile or on your candidates' walls by copying the URL and pasting it either as a link or as part of a comment. You can also copy the entire text and paste it into email to your representatives.

Let your message be loud and let it be clear: " Arts funding is jobs funding."

Author:  Gina Ness [ Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arts Jobs Are Jobs, Too

I totally agree, salzberg. This reminds me of an unemployment visit years ago to make a claim during San Francisco Ballet's layoff period. During the seventies and eighties, only a handful of dancers (probably less than a handful!) had fifty-two week contracts. Mine was for forty-two weeks. When I submitted my unemployment claim, the representative said something like, "What?! You can't file a claim. You mean to tell me that you think you get paid for "flitting about?" (these were his actual words!)." I had to go over his head to a supervisor to demand to file my claim. This just happened once, but it highlights that there is some kind of mindset that believes that working in the arts is not a valid job. And, your point about all the other jobs that revolve around the arts is well-taken.

Author:  Selena [ Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arts Jobs Are Jobs, Too

It's funny how some people can discount the arts so quickly like that. My own mother told me I was nothing but a dreamer when I wanted to attend the 4 year dance program at Goucher College in Maryland. I was told to get a "real" career! What is very interesting about this is when I began studying Nursing. The college insisted that all students take an Arts/ Humanities course or they wouldn't be able to graduate. These same folks who discount the arts are the same ones who benefit from the arts everyday in their music, their museums, their entertainment, and down to the clothes they wear! It takes an artist to design clothing for goodness sakes....

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