Individual Testimony for The Small Business Committee's Arts and Culture Hearing

Dear Dance Rising Artists & Workers,

We are urging you to advocate for yourself during a historic moment in our country for the arts.

For the first time, there is an opportunity for your experiences as a dance artist and worker to be entered into the Congressional Record of the House of Representatives via the Small Business Committee.

The hearing on January 19, 2022, was titled The Power, the Peril and the Promise of the Arts in the United States.” This title, coined by Arts Workers United/Be An #ArtsHero, frames the economic impact of the arts on the people and cities of the United States.

We are asking YOU to directly contact your elected federal officials with your story about the challenges you face as a result of the pandemic and how YOUR WORK as an artist enhances the overall health of our communities. We will enter your letter into Arts Workers United’s Book of National Testimony, being gathered in support of the Arts for this hearing.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE (Please complete your testimony by 2/2 to make the 2/3 deadline!):

  1. Copy our template letter (preview below), paste it into the space available and make it your own. **Your individual story and voice are critical.**

  2. It will automatically be sent to your State Senators, House of Representatives member, the President and Vice-President of the United States.

  3. Dance Rising will submit your letter to be included in Arts Workers United’s Book of National Testimony

Ready to take the conversation public? Post a dance video and:

  1. tag your NY state senators (New York: @senschumer @kirstengillibrand)

  2. Find your House of Representatives member and tag them:

  3. tag #ArtsWorkersUnite #ArtsHearing #ArtsTestimony @beanartshero @dancerising (we will amplify you!)

In dancing and solidarity,

~Dance Rising Collective

**************PREVIEW OF THE TEMPLATE LETTER****************

I am writing to introduce myself as a constituent and small business person. My name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [NEIGHBORHOOD and BOROUGH]. I am a dance [YOUR PROFESSION teacher/performer/administrator/choreographer/lighting designer/costume designer], I have made my living here in NYC for [NUMBER?] years, and contributed to NYC’s vibrancy and economy.

I am a dance artist and worker, and I know the dance economy of New York City matters to our state and to the nation. Dance is threaded through NYC’s creative economy, from Broadway to concert dance performances, experimental art projects, cultural practices and traditions, education and recreation, community programs, and social services that support the mental and physical health of all New Yorkers, from children to the elderly.  

I know from personal experience that the economic impact of the pandemic on our industry has been devastating. [INSERT a few sentences about your personal story or experience: how has your life as a dance worker been impacted during covid? How much income have you lost? What keeps your hope for the future of NYC’s dance field alive? What do you see as the promise of a healthy field?]

New York depends on dance artists as a major part of the cultural workforce. Now, we are depending on you to advocate for the survival of our sector, in New York City and across the country.  

Sudden closures and mandates hit the performing arts harder than any other sector. Nearly two years of closures, cancellations, and unpredictable environments are devastating for my own work, to the visibility of our industry and to the health of the entire dance economy. The studios where we train, create work, and teach are struggling to remain open given the challenging and fluctuating public health situation; planning and producing live performances, either here in NYC or on tour across the nation, is complicated and uncertain.

Without the ability to earn a stable living in my field, or receive sustained relief for food and housing costs, my life in New York as a dance artist is not viable. Our industry is one of the key cultural engines of NYC and one that people look to to help heal, connect and revive. Today, however, I am deeply worried about the health of myself, my colleagues, and the survival of the entire dance field.

I urge Congress and President Biden to help our nation’s dance industry survive by:

  • Passing all existing legislation for relief and recovery for the Arts & Culture sector;

  • Creating a Department and Secretary of Arts & Culture to represent this vital sector of the U.S. economy.

The pandemic has exposed the fragility of the dance ecology, and this is a historic opportunity to rethink how our government supports the arts. We are at a juncture where long-term investment in the arts at the federal level is imperative to bolster the economic stability and growth of organizations and individual arts workers.

Your choice to invest in and stabilize the myriad of individual artists, companies, and non-profits – small businesses that make up the arts and culture sector of the United States – in turn creates investment in the businesses surrounding rehearsal studios, theaters, galleries, museums, and design workshops. The performing arts are an economic engine, bringing audiences and arts workers to all the small businesses around venues, and generating a vitality that radiates into the neighborhood.

Investment in the performing arts is an investment in an entire community.

I call upon you to act now!


[Your name will be added automatically by our form]

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