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Our mission is to bring positive arts experiences to the broadest community possible through programming and events that focus on artistic excellence and arts access.

Cities are in trouble. A new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities—The Economy and Cities: What America’s Local Leaders are Seeing—shows that effectively every city, county, and town in America is expecting a budget shortfall this year. “[The] coronavirus will have a staggering impact on municipal employment,” notes the report, with about half expecting layoffs or furloughs. Depending on population size, 50% to 75% of municipalities will cut public services—and more than half expect that to include police.

With cities facing their most severe budget headwinds in generations, every sector of government can expect to be scrutinized to gauge impact on the community, including the nation’s 4,500 local arts agencies (LAAs).

Local arts agencies—arts councils, arts commissions, cultural affairs departments—lead, cultivate, and support an environment in which arts and culture can thrive. They ensure vibrant and accessible arts experiences for all. LAAs are an essential tool for local leaders as they work to rebuild their economy and promote social cohesion in the wake of COVID-19.

The arts are kindling for the economy—small investments with big returns. They get people out of their homes and spending money. Every time we attend a festival, visit a museum, or see a concert, we spend an average of $31.47 per person beyond the ticket cost on event-related items such as meals, retail, parking, and lodging. This provides vital income to local merchants, energizes our downtowns, promotes visitation to different neighborhoods, and puts people to work.