Both experiencing and creating art in any form is personally enriching and spurs economic development and community engagement. Artists have the same effect on a community as entrepreneurs over time. However, many artists and arts organizations can’t generate enough revenue to cover their costs or make their art financially accessible to a wide range of people. Due to budget cuts to the arts, we’re seeing a scaling-back or closing of programs offered by all types of arts organizations, including museums, theaters, dance and opera companies, and orchestras. This has been a severe loss to people, their communities, and our society.
Additionally, the way that people consume art, especially music and film, has drastically changed over the past several decades. However, our copyright and licensing legislation hasn’t. It’s time to revisit these laws in order to ensure that creativity can still thrive while artists receive fair compensation.
While the Freedom Dividend will provide people with financial support to pursue their artistic endeavors, there is much more we can do to support the arts in this country.
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Problems to be Solved
- Arts organizations across the country, including educational programs, are struggling to survive, despite their popularity.
- Many individuals abandon their creative dreams due to economic insecurity, lack of time, or a sense that our society doesn’t value art.
- The US government is underinvesting in the arts.
- Spending for the arts as a percentage of GDP is miniscule (.02%), and the National Endowment for the Arts receives just .014% of discretionary spending. This for a sector that accounts for 4.2% of GDP and receives much more significant investment in other developed countries.
- Current copyright law is outdated and based on decades of changes and exceptions being granted to large corporations, at odds with the intent of the original laws.
- Modern distribution services have led to artists not receiving fair royalties, for example musicians fees for music streamed online.
I will confess to being someone who took an Art History class in college and had it go way over my head. That said, I’ve grown to appreciate the importance of art to a thriving society. Artists and entrepreneurs have a great deal in common, including their long-term impact on a community. Art in all its forms enriches us and informs us about who we are as a people. It brings joy and vibrancy into our lives and helps to create stronger bonds between people and communities. It also serves as a catalyst to improving the economic and social health of neighborhoods and cities. The Freedom Dividend will free up thousands of people to pursue their artistic and creative passions. It will also dramatically increase the level of resources people have to support visual art, music, dance, theater, film-making, photography, books, videos, and other creative pursuits. But we should also pursue policies that directly support the arts, including adapting to the ways that people are now experiencing different forms of media and updating our copyright laws. It will make us stronger and richer in the most human of ways.
- Provide resources to sustain the education, creation, and offerings of all forms of art
- Incentivize individuals and corporations to increase their support for the arts
- Increase civic engagement and greater understanding between people through the arts
- Modernize and fix copyright laws to address technological changes and “copyright creep” over the decades
- Modernize licensing structures to provide artists with fair compensation
As President, I will...
- Restore NEA and NEH funding to at least pre-1996 levels, adjusted for inflation.
- Support changes in the tax law to spur investment in film, television, and live theatrical productions (Section 181 of the federal tax code).
- Bring greater awareness to how individuals and local communities throughout the country benefit from federal support for arts programs.
- Strongly support existing programs that offer art and music education in primary and secondary schools, and push for more such programs. They have been demonstrated to improve education outcomes.
- Explore the feasibility of creating a national theater.
- Assemble experts in copyright to propose ways to change copyright law in order to spur creativity.
- Continue to iterate on the Music Modernization Act, and promote similar policies that will bring our laws around compensation for the arts into the modern, streaming/internet era.