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Be An #ArtsHero Launches #ArtsAreMySuperpower Nationwide Letter-Writing Campaign

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The #ArtsAreMySuperpower initiative advocates for Congress to support the DAWN Act.

Be An #ArtsHero Launches #ArtsAreMySuperpower Nationwide Letter-Writing Campaign

Be An #ArtsHero, in association with a groundbreaking coalition of Youth Arts Organizations around the country, has launched #ArtsAreMySuperpower, a nationwide letter writing effort to galvanize the more than 6 million youth directly impacted by the coalition's work. The campaign seeks to educate and inspire youth to use their voices and compel our government to save their future in the arts and culture sector of our country.

Representing arts professionals, artists and educators employed by children's theaters, museums, cultural spaces, music venues, arts schools and camps, the coalition includes Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA), The American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE), International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), Association of Teaching Artists (ATA), iTheatrics, and New Victory, making up over 20,000 organizations and individual arts workers nationwide. Together, they will supply families with free letter-writing and art-creating templates to express their love of the arts and demonstrate its significant contribution to our nation, offering young people a chance to participate in civic engagement, perhaps for the first time.

The #ArtsAreMySuperpower initiative, taking place throughout the month of October, advocates for Congress to support the DAWN Act (Defend Arts Workers Now), urging the U.S. Government to pass a comprehensive arts relief package in recognition of the Arts and Culture sector's $877 billion value added contribution to the national economy (which is 4.5% of GDP), employing 5.1 million Arts Workers.

"Without massive, immediate Federal relief to the Arts & Culture sector, we will lose an entire generation who would have otherwise joined the labor force of the Creative economy, not to mention consumers of Arts and Culture," said the founders of Be An #ArtsHero. "The fine and performing arts economies are estimated to lose 50% of all jobs, due to COVID-related unemployment. This is nothing short of an economic depression. We need proportionate relief from Congress in order to sustain and rebuild our sector and the communities in which we are economic drivers. Without it, our youths may be forced to divert their dreams, our social fabric will tear, and our economy will suffer catastrophic results locally and nationally."

"Young people have a right to access the arts as a central part of their lives and their education. Our children deserve a future that prioritizes the arts and a government that recognizes the importance that the arts play in their development," says Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, Executive Director of Theater for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA). "The pandemic has compromised the sustainability of the entire arts ecosystem, including the artists, arts educators, and arts organizations that serve children and young people every day. It's time to see and hear what the next generation has to say."

"Personally, singing has allowed me to vent and let out my feelings, leaving me feeling lighter and happier," says student advocate Devika. "I want everyone to feel this way and be able to create a safe space for themselves through the arts and that's why I co-founded Music For Change, in the hopes that it will help uplift people's spirits around the world!"

"As a high-school Asian-American involved in musical theatre and the arts, I've realized that more and more POC are getting involved and participating in it," says student advocate Rosanna. "For me, the arts means community and acceptance- everyone is incredibly welcoming and theatre has always been a safe and supportive environment for me. I started Music For Change (music-for-change.org) a non-profit that utilizes music/arts to make a positive impact on our world."

Research conducted by the New Victory Theater in New York City and research firm WolfBrown demonstrate the benefit of the arts towards young people's social-emotional growth and their ability to imagine the future. In the only longitudinal study of its kind, New Victory joined with under-resourced school communities with no arts programming and found that children exposed to the arts are much more able to imagine the lives of others who are different from them and much more likely to continue seeing and participating in the arts as they grow, further indicating that investment in youth engagement with the arts will benefit the U.S. economy for years to come.


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