January 13, 2022

In This Issue

Act Now: Renewed COVID-19 Relief Talks Underway

The prolonged impact of COVID-19 is sparking new consideration of federal relief as Congress and the White House return to the negotiating table on priorities for 2022. On Wednesday, January 19, the House Small Business Committee is holding a hearing on the creative economy, and now is a great time to renew your dialogue with your elected officials. The League’s Relief and Recovery policy campaign includes talking points to customize for your members of Congress, describing how essential COVID-19 relief is for the creative sector.

NEA Awards 1st Round FY22 Grants, Direct ARP Grants to Come

Earlier this week, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its first round of major awards for fiscal year 2022 in the categories of Grants for Arts Projects and Challenge America, including support for 52 orchestras and numerous related projects. Applicants interested in FY23 awards should take note that the next deadline is quickly approaching: Grants for Arts Projects Part 1 for FY23 will be due on February 10. The League has updated our Grant Tips for Orchestras and encourages new and experienced applicants alike to review them closely to get acquainted with important changes and key information, and to tune into upcoming webinars hosted by the NEA.

Later this month, the agency will announce grants made directly to arts organizations through dedicated American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. This third installment of Rescue Plan funding totals nearly $58 million and follows previous ARP awards to state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies for regranting (announced in April) and to local arts agencies for subgranting (announced in November). In all, the NEA was allocated $135 million in ARP funds to support organizations and jobs in the arts sector impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, in exciting news for the Endowment, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson was confirmed as the next Chair by the U.S. Senate in late December and will soon be sworn into office.

Newest Artist Visa Updates as Travel Resumes, Cautiously

Over the course of the pandemic, the rules and requirements for international travel have been in constant flux. The League is continually posting news alerts to our dedicated website, Artists from Abroad, as conditions change. Over the last six months alone, we’ve seen the long-anticipated lifting of major travel restrictions that prevented many U.S. arts organizations from presenting international artists in performances, new requirements for vaccination and COVID-19 testing, and some promising policy improvements from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department as a result of persistent advocacy. While the visa process is still up and running, it’s important that all petitioners plan for processing delays and interview backlogs, inform artists about new options to secure appointments, and stay up to date on coronavirus-related requirements for entry into the U.S. by non-citizens. The League provides several forms of visa assistance and encourages orchestras to reach out with any questions or stories about their experiences.

League Resources on COVID-19 Relief and New Safety Rules

As the duration and course of the pandemic continue to evolve, the League is keeping up with the latest developments at the federal level. Check our overview of COVID-19 Federal Relief opportunities, which includes the latest news and links as the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program moves into the award management phase. Our overview of Coronavirus Safety Protocols includes links to the latest testing, vaccination, and safety guidance from federal agencies.

2022: A Key Year for Advocacy

We are incredibly grateful to our members for staying engaged in the marathon of local, state, and federal action to help elected officials understand the essential role of the arts in communities. If you missed it in our previous policy update, you can find a Calendar of Opportunities listing key dates officials will be at home as well as some suggestions to prompt interactions and ongoing communication. With midterm elections taking place later this year, current and prospective officials will be sensitive to priorities that bubble up from home and there will be many people vying for their attention as well. Now is a good time to map out a strategy for some periodic check-ins to ensure that both the concerns and benefits of the arts are well understood in your community.


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