“I was a mayor. Believe me, I know how important the arts are!”
–New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, at our TCG Hill Visits
Last week, TCG’s Board of Directors held its winter meeting in Washington, D.C. As the first regular board meeting to be held outside of New York, it was designed to allow our trustees and our National Council for the American Theatre (NCAT) to visit Congressional Representatives and build awareness of issues affecting our field. I’m grateful to Michael Kahn, Chris Jennings, David Olson and the entire staff of the Shakespeare Theatre Company for hosting us. It was also wonderful to visit with a number of our Member Theatre leaders while there.
During the board meeting, TCG’s Kevin E. Moore and Emilya Cachapero gave a presentation on the long-term impacts of our grant programs, including these statistics:
- Historically 62% of individual grants have been awarded to women,
theatre professionals of color and theatre professionals with disabilities
- 40 current Artistic Directors were individual grant recipients
- 14 former Artistic Directors were individual grant recipients
- 6 Tony Award winners were individual grant recipients
- 5 Pulitzer Prize winners developed their play on a grant
These statistics help reveal the ripple effect of TCG’s grantmaking: When we nurture individual artists and theatre leaders, over time the benefits are reaped by the whole field. Speaking of which, we just launched the next round of the MetLife/TCG A-ha! grant program.
On our visits to the Hill, we urged Congress to:
- Support a budget of $155 million for the NEA in FY 2015 appropriations;
- Preserve incentives for charitable giving by protecting the full scope and value of the charitable tax deduction;
- Reinstate and make permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover;
- Enact the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, which will require U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to improve visa processing for artists from abroad;
- Cosponsor H.R. 2911, the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013 introduced by Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-1-IL);
- Appropriate $30 million for the Arts in Education (AIE) programs in the FY 2015 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill at the U.S. Department of Education;
- Retain the Arts in Education program as a distinct grant competition in FY 2015 appropriations; and
- Retain the arts in the definition of core academic subjects and strengthen equitable access to arts learning.
The legislators and their staffers with whom we met were grateful to learn about these issues, and to hear stories of the value theatre brings to their constituents.
Finally, we also launched registration for the 2014 TCG National Conference: Crossing Borders in San Diego. See you there?