Arts are essential to Nevada, our economy and our humanity
Members of the Las Vegas valley arts sector have signed on to a joint letter reminding Gov. Steve Sisolak and lawmakers that the arts are essential to Nevada as they determine budget cuts and possible revenue increases in response to the devastating COVID crisis.
The letter, spearheaded by Wendy Kveck of the Desert Arts Action Coalition and local artist Brent Holmes, has a growing list of over one hundred signatures by local organizations and individuals including Eat More Art Vegas. Its message, crafted in collaboration with local arts leaders and community allies, urges policymakers to "remember that the arts are essential to Nevada, to our economy, and to our humanity."
Prior to the pandemic, the arts and culture sector contributed a larger share than mining to the state’s economy - $8.7 billion representing 5.5% of Nevada’s GDP. The letter points out the disproportionate, negative impact on the members of the local arts community that includes small nonprofits, event professionals, and educators among others.
"As cultural producers, small business owners, independent contractors in the arts and live entertainment industries, too many of us have been financially impacted by closures. Education, social services, and cultural institutions are still recovering from the cuts imposed during the last recession; many artists and creatives work in these critical sectors. Moreover, the impact of COVID-19 has revealed the deep inequities of our healthcare, social, and economic systems."
The group encourages bold action that will transform the current crisis into a landmark opportunity for "diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility" that protects the most vulnerable and puts "collective safety and well-being over profit".
The letter concludes:
"As you consider what is essential, please remember that the arts are essential to Nevada, to our economy, and to our humanity. The arts cultivate an in-demand workforce and our next generation of leadership. They teach critical thinking, civic engagement, empathy, kindness, and cross-cultural understanding. The arts nurture hope, healing and resiliency, which this critical moment calls for."