“Our arts and culture sector contributes $ 877 billion to the economy. We are 4.5% of GDP and we represent 5.1 million American workers, ”Be an Arts Hero organizer Jenny Grace Makholm told CBS2. “We were among the first to close and will be one of the last to reopen. ”
The group called “Be An #ArtsHero” wants Congress to expand federal unemployment compensation in the event of a pandemic, subsidize COBRA, and allocate about $ 44 billion specifically to the arts and culture sector.
“The federal relief that came out was… a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It’s just not enough, ”Makholm said. “For so much of our industry, we need proportionate relief.”
After the performance in Times Square, the group paused for 100 seconds of silence – one second for each U.S. senator they call on to create change.
For many actors, including Charl Brown, who was nominated for a Tony for his portrayal of Smokey Robinson in “Motown: The Musical,” the past few months have been more than difficult.
“We’ve all been out of work for months, and there are still months to go,” he said. “It’s a melancholy feeling, it’s almost unreal, it’s very post-apocalyptic.”
Still, Brown is hopeful, especially if lawmakers do more to help.
“I choose the side of hope. I know we will come back and when we come back it will be stronger than ever and people will be all the more hungry for entertainment, ”he said.
The group said the arts community is a big part of the U.S. economy, and without it, the country will struggle to recover.
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