Why COVID-19 Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Radically Rethink Arts Funding

Republished by ECBN from: Artsy

The events of the last four months feel utterly unprecedented, but for artists, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) artists in particular, the results have been predictably disastrous. COVID-19’s devastating effect on the already precarious financial state of so many reflects a long history of devaluing and underfunding our creative economy. While the New Deal of the 1930s saw the government take a large and active role in supporting the arts during the economic fallout of World War II, in the decades that followed, that support was gradually worn away. Its erosion culminated during the culture wars, when, in 1994, the conservative crusade against marginalized voices successfully pushed the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to stop funding individual artists.

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Header image: Mike Henderson, Me and the Band, c. 1968. Courtesy of the artist and Artadia. Mike Henderson was a 2019 Artadia Awardee. / Artsy.