Advocacy Alert: Don’t Let Old-School Culture Wars Nonsense Sideline Relief Funding For The Arts

By the time this article is published, congress may have passed the $2 trillion stimulus package. If not, I strongly encourage everyone to begin contacting your elected representatives and advocate for the inclusion of arts funding.

Sadly, relief funding for the arts and culture sector has become a flashpoint for stereotypical political ideology that either understands inherent value the arts and culture sector provides and those who see it as an elitist luxury.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Trump administration and his supporters in congress have been attempting to cut out all relief funding while liberal members of congress have been placing it front and center alongside requirements that protect workers against being laid off at companies receiving relief funding.

Many of the field’s service organizations have organized advocacy efforts. And given the timeline involved, I’m publishing this article early in order to give as many individuals as possible an opportunity to follow up with options from one or more:

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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