Sign up to receive Action Alerts from the PAA!
TCG is a founding members of the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA), the premiere advocate for America's professional nonprofit arts organizations, artists and their publics before the US Congress and key policy makers. Example Action Alerts are listed below in chronological order. Sign up today!
2/26/15: Speak up for Arts Ed in the House of Representatives!
Tomorrow, February 27, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), our nation’s education law. Last month, PAA alerted you to weigh in on draft ESEA legislation in the Senate, and many of you voiced your support for arts education in that bill. It’s now time to speak up for arts education in the House. The House majority’s proposal recommends broad changes to the federal leadership role in education reform. House Democrats are likely to offer alternative proposals for consideration, and the votes on each measure are expected to fall along party lines. You know how important the arts are in providing a complete education for every American student. Share these key messages about arts education with your Representative:
- Currently, federal law defines the arts as a “core academic subject.” Any future versions of ESEA should retain this definition; it makes arts education eligible for critical federal resources that address inequalities and strengthen education.
- It’s critical that state-level data about student access to arts education be collected and publicly reported. Knowing how much or how little arts education is being offered in our schools helps ensure all students have equitable access to it. Federal law should require this transparency.
- Arts education must be supported in ESEA provisions for early childhood education, afterschool and out-of-school learning, teaching effectiveness, school turnaround efforts, charter schools, and student assessment.
- The U.S. Department of Education should continue to administer the Arts in Education competitive grant program which advances educator professional development in the arts and model arts education programs.
Permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover
This week the U.S. House of Representatives will consider making permanent a package of charitable giving incentives that includes the IRA Charitable Rollover. After expiring at the end of 2013, the IRA Rollover was reinstated by Congress and the White House in the final weeks of 2014. However, as of January 1, 2015, it has expired again. This cycle of expiration and renewal creates uncertainty for organizations that cultivate planned gifts to support their arts organizations. Before the vote, tell your Representative how important the IRA Charitable Rollover is to supporting your arts organization’s work.
ACTION: Please write a letter to your Representative about the importance of making the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent.
1/29/15: Protect Arts Education
Earlier this month, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the new Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a discussion draft of the "Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015." This Act would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which governs our nation's public education system. Several provisions in this law would threaten arts education, both during school time and after school. Through public comment, this is the first opportunity to deliver four key messages, in unison with the broader arts and arts education community:
- The arts are currently listed as a core academic subject in federal law. Any rewrite of ESEA must retain the arts in the definition of "core academic subjects," enabling access to federal resources that address inequalities and strengthen education.
- Federal law should require transparency in how much or how little arts education is being offered to our nation's students. Collecting and publicly reporting the status and condition of arts education and other core academic subjects on an annual basis at the state level is critical to ensuring equitable access to a comprehensive education for all students.
- Arts education must be supported in provisions relating to early childhood education, afterschool/out-of-school learning, teaching effectiveness, school turnaround, charter schools, and student assessment.
- The U.S. Department of Education should continue to administer a direct, nationally funded, competitive Arts in Education grant program that advances the capacity of the arts to strengthen learning and improve teaching.
ACTION: The HELP committee is accepting public comments on this draft until Monday, February 2. Personalize a letter to send to the committee asking them to continue federal support of arts education.
8/14/14: Encourage the Senate to Support the IRA Charitable Rollover
In July, the House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) which includes a provision to reinstate and make permanent the IRA charitable rollover. The Senate must consider this bill next, and we’re calling on you to take action and urge your senators to move this legislation forward. The rollover expired at the end of 2013, and if the Senate does not pass this bill before the November elections, it is unlikely that they will do so before the end of 2014.
ACTION: Contact your senators to move this legislation forward.
7/15/14: NEA Funding Restored in the House!
On July 9th, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over NEA funding, approved $138 million in FY15 funding for the NEA – representing an $8 million reduction from current funding. Thanks to your advocacy efforts, on July 15th, the full House Appropriations Committee restored the NEA’s FY15 budget to $146 million. While restoration to $146 million is a victory, PAA continues to advocate for $155 million for the NEA.
ACTION: It is very important to maintain contact with elected officials to let them know about the impact of NEA grants to communities across the country. Sign up for Action Alerts on PAA's website.
7/15/14: Upcoming House Vote to Reinstate IRA Rollover
On July 17th the full House of Representatives is set to vote on legislation to permanently reinstate the IRA charitable rollover. This important provision expired at the end of 2013, greatly reducing the incentive for individuals to support nonprofit arts organizations. The vote will be on H.R. 4719, and the IRA rollover is one of five charitable provisions important to the non-profit sector being considered along with this bill.
ACTION: Tell your representative to reinstate the IRA charitable rollover!
6/12/14: Senate Confirms Dr. Jane Chu as New NEA Chair
On June 12, 2014 the Senate voted to confirm Dr. Jane Chu as the next chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 2006, Dr. Chu has served as President and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Many members of the Performing Arts Alliance have worked with her and are pleased that such a smart and engaging colleague with a deep knowledge and understanding of the performing arts field will lead the NEA. We await the President’s approval of the Senate’s vote which will make official Dr. Chu’s appointment to the chairmanship. The Performing Arts Alliance is confident that the NEA—and the arts in our nation—will be strengthened by her leadership.
ACTION: Stay up to date on the latest performing arts advocacy news by signing up become a member of PAA.
5/23/14: EXPIRE Act Stalled in Senate
The EXPIRE Act—which proposed to reinstate the IRA Rollover among many other expired tax provisions—stalled in the full Senate on May 15 when it did not receive enough votes to overcome a filibuster. Meanwhile, in the House, Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL 18th) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3rd) introduced H.R. 4619 on May 8 which would make this tax provision permanent. PAA continues to advocate for the reinstatement and permanent status of the IRA Rollover by signing on to an open letter to the House Ways and Means Committee from Independent Sector asking them to renew and make permanent the provision and asking committee members to co-sponsor H.R. 4619.
ACTION: Tell your members of Congress how important it is that individual donors be able to support your organization’s work. Take action to reinstate the IRA Rollover on the PAA website.
5/15/14: Limited Expansion of Part 74 Licensing for Wireless Microphones
At an Open Meeting on May 15, the FCC adopted rules expanding Part 74 license eligibility to include sound companies and venues regularly using at least 50 wireless microphones. The rules are intended to ensure interference protection and high quality sound for large events. After the auction, the Commission anticipates there will be one channel in each area which would be available for shared use by wireless microphones and TV white space devices. PAA continues to advocate for two safe-haven channels of spectrum for wireless microphones to protect against interference, as well as eligibility for performing arts venues using at least 25 microphones to obtain a license from the FCC.
ACTION: Read PAA’s Ex Parte Letter to the FCC on May 7.
3/5/14: President Releases FY15 Budget Request for NEA
On March 5, 2014 President Obama released his FY15 budget request which included $146 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). His proposal represents level funding for the agency from FY14. Last year the President proposed $154.5 million but the House proposed allotting only $75 million for the agency. With your advocacy efforts, the NEA's final FY14 budget was announced at $146 million. PAA and the arts community continue to advocate for $155 million in funding for the NEA.
ACTION: Read more about the FY15 Budget and NEA appropriations for in this PAA Advocacy Update.
3/4/14: Arts in Education funding threatened to be Consolidated in FY15 Budget
The President's FY15 budget once again eliminates funding for the $25 million Arts in Education Program at the U.S. Department of Education in favor of consolidating the program into a broader fund for “Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education”. The President is proposing that 10 subjects of learning – including geography, foreign language, and the arts – compete against each other for a total FY15 funding pool of only $25 million. Arts advocates are calling on Congress to maintain distinct funding for the Arts in Education Program at a level of $30 million in FY15.
ACTION: Stay up to speed on Art in Education Funding at the Federal level on the PAA website.
2/10/14: Protect Musicians Traveling On Board Airplanes with Instruments!
Musicians often fly with their prized and valuable instruments to performances and engagements around the world where they present live concerts, accompany dancers or play alongside theatre or opera performances. To make air travel easier, Congress passed the 2012 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act that included a requirement for the FAA to set industry-wide standards for the carry-on transport of instruments, protecting musicians. Although the FAA was supposed to have issued rules by Friday, February 14, 2014, it still hasn’t started the process yet.
ACTION: Ask your Representative and Senators to sign onto a letter urging the FAA to write these policies!
1/17/14: FY14 Budget Victory for the NEA
On Friday, January 17, 2014 President Obama signed into law the $1.1 trillion spending package passed a few days prior by the House and Senate. Lawmakers reached a deal on this spending package in December 2013 which allocates $146 million to the NEA for FY14. Due to your advocacy efforts, the NEA’s budget has recovered from the 5% cut it received in the FY13 sequester.
ACTION: Read more about this win for the NEA in the PAA's monthly Advocacy Report for January.
1/17/14: FY14 Budget Victory for Arts Education
On Friday, January 17, President Obama signed into law the $1.1 trillion spending package passed a few days prior by the House and Senate. The spending bill allocates $25 million to the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program for FY14 which restores its budget to FY12 funding levels. Thanks to your advocacy the program remains a stand-alone program within the Department of Education and its budget has recovered from the 5% cut it received in the FY13 sequester.
ACTION: Read more about how the arts are impacted by the FY14 Budget in the PAA’s January 2014 Appropriations Update.
1/17/14: Reinstate the IRA Rollover and Support the Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2013
The IRA Charitable Rollover expired at the end of 2013 but this important giving incentive has allowed for millions of dollars of contributions to support the work of nonprofit organizations. It is critical to maintain charitable giving options in order to provide a consistent source of revenue for programs and services to people and communities. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2013 (s. 1772) which would expand and extend this tax incentive, making the provision permanent.
ACTION: Contact your representatives today to request their support of extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision and the Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2013.
12/5/13: NEA Releases Arts Economic Impact Research Report
In December, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released a preliminary report on the impact of arts and culture on the U.S. economy. Working with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), this report was the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector's contributions to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In early February 2014, the NEA released more detailed data on their blog showing the dollar amount of value that each arts discipline adds to the GDP, an enhancement that the December report didn’t include.
ACTION: Learn more about this report by reading this press release on the NEA website and this post on the NEA blog.
11/18/13: Help Nonprofit Theatres Maintain Private Contributions via Charitable Giving Tax Incentives
On Wednesday, November 20th, members of TCG will join over 200 nonprofit leaders representing the arts and human services organizations on Capitol Hill to petition their representatives to preserve the charitable deduction. The charitable deduction encourages giving to all nonprofit organizations including the nonprofit performing arts. On average, 40% of the annual revenue to the nonprofit performing arts field comes from private contributions. These funds support a number of activities such as the creation and presentation of works of art. They also support programs in which arts and human services organizations partner together to address critical community issues such as education, health, poverty and accessibility to the arts.
ACTION: Urge Congress to preserve the charitable deduction that is responsible for the sustainability of the nonprofit sector.
11/13/13: Rep. Ken Calvert named Chairman of House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior
On November 13, 2014, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) was named as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies which oversees NEA appropriations. TCG and the PAA advocate for federal appropriations for the NEA so that it can continue to support arts organizations, helping them make meaningful connections between their art, artists, and their communities.
ACTION: Learn more about how to advocate for the NEA at the PAA website’s Issue Center.
11/13/13: New Early Childhood Legislation Introduced in the Senate
Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and fellow senators introduced early childhood education legislation on November 13 entitled the “Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2013” (H.R. 3641). House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member George Miller (D-11th-CA) introduced similar legislation in the House. The act establishes a new federal-state partnership supporting four-year old preschool and includes “creative arts expression” as an essential domain of school readiness. It requires state applications for funding to include information about how the state will “coordinate with community based learning resources, such as libraries, arts and arts education programs…” This act draws on the framework for early childhood education that President Obama described in his 2013 State of the Union address.
ACTION: Learn more about advocating for Arts in Education on the PAA website.
10/30/13: New FCC Chairman is Moving Fast to Change Radio Frequency Laws
With the new chairman in place, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is quickly moving forward on spectrum auctions, which is the FCC’s plan to work with broadcasters to voluntarily auction unused spectrum in the television band. While nonprofit performing arts organizations, commercial theatres, schools and performers have all relied on wireless microphones operating within certain frequencies, the FCC wants to auction off portions of this broadcast spectrum called “white space” which may require wireless microphone operations to move which would necessitate the purchase of new sound equipment, and would also likely increase the chance of harmful interference from new white space devices.
ACTION: Contact your representatives today and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 2911, the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013. This bill, introduced by Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-1-IL), will protect performing arts wireless technology such as microphones and backstage communications systems operating in the "white space."
8/1/13: Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013 Introduced in the House
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st IL) introduced to the House H.R. 2911, the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013, which would set in place certain protections for users of wireless microphones and wireless technologies. The bill asks the Federal Communications Commission to expand eligibility for Part 74 licenses to certain wireless microphone users including the performing arts sector, to establish safe haven channels for wireless microphones, and to authorize access by owners and operators of wireless microphones to the TV bands databases for the purpose of protecting wireless microphone operations from interference. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
ACTION: Contact your Representative and ask them to support H.R. 2911, the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013 today
7/29/13: TCG and the PAA Host A Capitol Hill Forum on Wireless Technology
TCG along with Rep. Rush and his staff hosted “Pardon the Interruption,” a forum on Capitol Hill addressing the need to protect broadcast and wireless microphones used in the performing arts and other sectors. The event was held in conjunction with Rep. Bobby Rush’s (D-1st IL) development of H.R. 2911, the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013, which he introduced to the House on August 1. This forum stressed the importance of wireless technology to the performing arts and other industries’ abilities to produce high quality experiences for their audiences. The FCC was urged to protect wireless microphones when it conducts spectrum auctions. Theatre Communication Group’s Laurie Baskin represented PAA, testifying on a panel of stakeholders that included Julius Knapp, Federal Communications Commission; Tom Pope, First Baptist Church of Glenarden; Louis Libin, Broad Comm., Inc. (representing the NFL); and Maureen Bunyan, ABC 7 local news. Harvey Fierstein, Tony-award winning actor and playwright also participated, delivering testimony on the importance of this issue to the NYC Broadway theatre community. To read Laurie Baskin's complete remarks, click here. To read Harvey Fierstein's complete remarks: click here.
ACTION: Listen to this story from NPR that mentions the forum and talks about this issue. Learn more about white space in the PAA Issue Center.
7/22/13: Huge Cut to the NEA Proposed!
Will you allow the NEA Budget to be cut in half? Take immediate action to protect the NEA. Yesterday the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the NEA’s budget, voted to cut the NEA’s FY14 funding to $75 million – down from the current enacted funding level of $146 million. This is disproportionate compared to cuts proposed for other agencies and this appropriation is less than half of the Administration’s FY14 budget request to Congress. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve this $75 million budget, and could consider the bill as early as next week. There is still time for the Committee to make changes to the Bill if Members of Congress hear from you - their constituents.
ACTION: TCG and the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) urge you to take action and ask Congress to fund the NEA at $155 million in 2014! Sending a message to your Member will take two minutes - make sure your voice is heard. Learn more about this disproportionate cut, what may happen as a response in the Senate, and which Members of Congress have the biggest impact on this issue on the PAA website.
7/19/13: U.S. House of Representatives Passes the Student Success Act
The House of Representatives approved the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) which would rewrite the nation's K-12 education law. As passed by the House, the Student Success Act will do a range of things, from eliminating Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and replacing it with state-determined accountability systems to repealing federal “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirements and granting states the flexibility to develop their own teacher evaluation systems to better gauge an educator’s effectiveness, if they so choose.
ACTION: Learn more about the Student Success Act on the PAA website.
6/24/13: Artist Visa Processing Issue Addressed in Senate Immigration Bill
Improvements to the U.S. visa process for international guest artists are now included in the comprehensive immigration reform package under consideration in the U.S. Senate. Called The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) provision, these improvements will require U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to ensure timely processing for visa petitions filled by or on behalf of nonprofit arts-related organizations. The ARTS provision would improve the reliability of the visa process by reducing total maximum processing times for O and P nonprofit arts-related visa petitions to under 30 days. Currently, the law requires these petitions to be processed within 14 days of filing, but more often than not, the process takes longer than this. Under the ARTS provision, USCIS would be required to treat as a Premium Processing case any arts-related O and P visa petition that it fails to process within the required 14-day period. This Premium Processing would waive the $1,250 fee usually assessed for this service—a fee which is unaffordable for most arts organizations. Our nonprofit arts organizations and artists boost international diplomacy by presenting foreign guest artists in performances and education events in our communities.
ACTION: The Senate plans to complete action on its immigration bill by the end of this week, while House consideration begins to move forward. Tell your legislators about the importance of global cultural exchange.
4/9/13: Protect the Charitable Deduction
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
Like thousands of other nonprofits, many performing arts organizations are classified as 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. If it were not for this exemption and the deductibility of private contributions, nonprofit performing arts organizations and many other charities would be unable to serve community needs.
ACTION: Urge Congress to preserve the charitable deduction that is responsible for the sustainability of the nonprofit sector. Click here to contact your legislators today!
4/9/13: Cosponsor the Artist Fair-Market Deduction Act
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
Artists, scholars, and the public rely on original manuscripts and supporting material to reveal the artistic underpinnings of existing compositions and inspire the creative works of emerging artists. Encouraging gifts of artistic works to nonprofit cultural organizations helps to preserve our artistic and cultural heritage.
ACTION: Raise your voice to support the Artist-Museum Partnership Act. Click here to generate your letter and contact your legislators today.
4/9/13: Extend the IRA Charitable Rollover
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
The IRA Charitable Rollover provision was reinstated for 2012 and 2013 as part of the fiscal cliff package passed by Congress at the beginning of this year. This important giving incentive has allowed for millions of dollars of new contributions to support the work of nonprofit organizations, and it is critical to maintain charitable giving options for individuals in order to provide a consistent source of revenue for programs and services to people and communities.
ACTION: Your voice makes a difference! Click here to generate you letter and contact your legislators today.
4/9/13: Improve Visa Process for Foreign Guest Artists
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
American nonprofit performing arts organizations provide and important public service by presenting foreign guest artists in performances, educational events, and cultural programs in communities across the country. Delays and inconsistencies by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have made it difficult in the past for international artists to obtain the visas required for entry into the United States. Nonprofit arts organizations confront uncertainty in gaining approval for visa petitions due to lengthy processing times, inconsistent interpretation of statute and implementation of policies, expense, and unwarranted requests for further evidence.
ACTION: Global cultural exchange is important now more than ever! Tell your legislators about the importance of global cultural exchange.
4/9/13: Increase Funding for International Cultural Exchange
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
The State Department’s Cultural Programs Division is the principal office focused on cultural diplomacy. Ask your Representative and Senators to direct the State Department to appropriate a minimum of $15 million in FY14 for cultural exchange programs at the U.S. Department of State.
ACTION: Make a difference! Send your legislators a personalized message.
4/9/13: Strengthen Arts Education in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
Despite overwhelming public support for arts education, access to arts education in our schools is eroding. School systems are focusing largely on reading and math at the expense of arts education and other core subjects of learning.
ACTION: Ask your Representative and Senators to support strengthening arts education in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Make your voice heard now!
4/9/13: Support FY14 Arts in Education Funding
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
The U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program provides federal support to performing arts organizations for the development, evaluation, and dissemination of model programs that integrate arts instruction into other subject areas. Ask your Representative and Senators to appropriate $30 million for the Arts in Education program in the FY14 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Any reduction below $30 million would result in under-funding multiyear projects that are midstream.
ACTION: Take action today! Write to your legislators about the importance of Arts in Education Funding.
4/9/13: Support FY14 Funding for the NEA
Arts Advocacy Day Action Alert
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a critical source of federal support for performing arts organizations around the country. Through direct grants and support to state arts agencies, the NEA awards more than 2,000 grants each year to nonprofit performing arts organizations for projects that widen citizen access to the arts, making the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts available to more communities. With the FY14 budget process underway, please take a moment to write to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support funding for the NEA at $155 million.
ACTION: Make your voice heard! Ask your legislators to support funding the NEA at $155 million.
Click here to see archived Action Alerts.