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Ovation TV Put $1 Million Behind COVID Relief for Arts Sector in 2020

Pledges to Continue Investment Next Year by Offering Struggling Organizations Free Airtime

Ovation TV Put $1 Million Behind COVID Relief for Arts Sector in 2020

Ovation TV, the only independent television and digital media company dedicated to the arts, released a series of new PSAs airing on its channels nationwide, including a spot featuring Misty Copeland's Swans for Relief effort to raise funds for dancers who are in financial need due to COVID-19.

The ads, running across Ovation's owned media platforms, including a 40 million cable TV footprint and over 200 million connected devices, are meant to bring attention to the arts industry's current financial crisis. The PSAs were part of the company's $1 million investment during 2020, which also included lobbying and digital campaign efforts, to push Congress to prioritize the struggling arts sector as it eyes a second stimulus package before the end of the year.

As a new administration enters the White House in January, Ovation TV is now inviting struggling arts organizations from across the country to join its Stand For The Arts Coalition and apply to have Ovation produce similar PSAs for them. The PSAs will run across Ovation's cable and digital platforms beginning in 2021, meant to raise awareness for the distressed arts sector, as well as assist in crucial fundraising efforts to save organizations from permanent closure and bring arts workers back to work.

Stand For The Arts, Ovation's national advocacy platform, represents hundreds of regional arts organizations and venues across the country. Existing member organizations will be contacted by Ovation and receive instructions on how to apply for a PSA spot. Any arts organization interested in joining Stand For The Arts should email by Sunday, December 6, 2020, in order to be eligible. Priority will be given to those organizations who are at-risk of permanent closure due to COVID-19, did not qualify for PPP under the CARES Act or have needed to cut programming and lay off their arts workers.

Earlier this year, the cable arts network endorsed the grassroots, worker-led Be An #ArtsHero campaign, which quickly grew a coalition of arts workers, institutions, and celebrities since the start of the pandemic, and the Defend Arts Workers Now (DAWN) Act. Combining lobbying efforts, they are demanding Congress enact a series of immediate, massive relief measures for the distressed arts industry. Those demands include $43.85 billion in emergency funding - representing just 5% of the arts' value added to the national economy every year - for the 675,000 theaters, museums, galleries and concert halls across the country devastated by COVID-19.

The arts are an $877 billion dollar industry in the U.S., a larger economic driver than agriculture, transportation or construction, and drive an astounding 4.5% of the nation's GDP each year. Under a Biden administration, Ovation TV CEO Charles Segars also feels the establishment of a cabinet-level position, a new Secretary of Arts and Culture, could be in the foreseeable future.

"It is long overdue that the arts sector be taken seriously at the federal level for the economic driver that it is," said Charles Segars, CEO of Ovation TV. "The arts are not a red or blue state issue, they are central to the economic ecosystem in every state - a $407 billion industry in California, but also accounting for $37 billion in Florida, $24 billion in Georgia, $46 billion in Texas and $15 billion in North Carolina, to name a few. Because of the pure nature of attracting audiences, bringing people together, the arts have been impacted by the pandemic more than most. Keeping the arts economy alive, and supporting the institutions, artists, and workers who drive it amid this crisis requires immediate action from Congress, but we also need to invest in the arts and establish federal arts infrastructure in the long-term."

From April through July alone, an estimated 2.7 million jobs and more than $150 billion in sales of goods and services for creative industries have been lost nationwide as tours have been cancelled, venues have shuttered, and staff have been furloughed. According to a survey by Americans for the Arts, 11% of arts organizations aren't confident they will survive the pandemic at all. It is not just artists, actors, and musicians losing opportunities -- millions of technical, digital, labor and service jobs are all at risk, including writers, editors, video and stage crews, set designers, graphic artists, post-production staff, administrators, carpenters, electricians, sound engineers, janitors, caterers and delivery drivers.

While other sectors like restaurants begin to re-open, 62% of arts workers report that they are still fully unemployed, and 94% report income and revenue loss, averaging individual losses of $23,500.

"In nearly every city and small town in the country, arts and culture boost the local economy and create jobs. The spending and revenue driven by the arts and their audiences is at a standstill right now," said Ellen Burstyn, Co-President of The Actors Studio and former President of Actors' Equity Association. "But the arts are more than a multi-billion dollar industry, they define American culture and have the power to unite us across race, politics, religion, and geography, at a time when we have never been more divided. If the federal government fails to act, it will do irreparable harm to the American culture that connects us all."

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