COVID recovery includes reviving the huge arts and humanities economy

When President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law within his first 100 days of office, some questioned why it included funding for the arts and humanities. Each of our agencies – the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities – received $135 million to support and sustain arts and humanities groups as well as educational institutions facing financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics called it “wasteful spending” or unrelated to coronavirus recovery.

Yet many arts and culture organizations, from America’s small towns to its big cities, were among the hardest hit by the pandemic last year. An American Alliance of Museums survey found that 15% of the country’s museums are at risk of permanent closure. Similarly, within higher education, more than 650,000 people employed by colleges and universities have lost their jobs over the past year. 

Angelia S. Rico

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