Supporter Spotlight: The Italian Cultural Institute (IIC)

  • December 5, 2011 2:00 pm
Florentine Playwright Stefano Massini's play premieres this Sunday

Our supporters and partners are invaluable to the work of The Global Theatre Project and beyond. If we had a nickel for every wonderful deed or talent donated, there would be no need to fund-raise! From the very beginning, The Italian Cultural Institute offered their assistance, and we are grateful for the exposure to their…

Protecting the NEA: An Open Letter To Our Representatives

  • January 26, 2011 1:28 am

The following is my response to a call for action from Americans for the Arts.  You can do the same by going here: http://capwiz.com/artsusa/issues/alert/?alertid=13209311

Dear Representative,

As the State of the Union address ends tonight I am heartened with the hope that we will find a leadership which works across party lines to manifest the best future for our country.  However, I am concerned that the future the President mapped for us did not contain one mention of the arts or our culture. 

The NEA is a necessary aspect of the economic life of this country.  There is no argument against the fact that the arts are a major industry in our United States.  According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion annually supplying 5.7 million full time jobs and $12.6 billion in federal income taxes

The current leadership of the NEA, Rocco Landesman, knows and understands the value of the arts and is innovatively reaching out to other federal agencies to create collaborative projects and programs with economic impact and social value.  The grants which the NEA provides are not frivolous.  They provide infrastructure and ensure broad access to the arts for all individuals from rural classrooms to major symphonies.

It is, for me, a simple truth that a nation with out a mandate for support of its artists is a nation without a soul.  The innovation which President Obama spoke of also applies to those of us in the arts industry.  We represent a vital aspect of the future and the NEA is an unquestionable necessity to continue to see it realized.

Cutting the NEA is a long-time agenda which will not solve our fiscal crisis and which will only add to the financial burden on this country.  Jobs will be lost, opportunities will fall.  The nation’s future will be negatively impacted.  We must rise above the concept that the arts are the enemy of a healthy economic system and accept the REALITY that support of the arts industry is aligned with the health of an economy.  One need only look to our abandoned downtowns and neighborhoods, such as found in Los Angeles, which have been revitalized through growth of local businesses flourishing around a central pulse of the artists who built studios and theatres in abandoned buildings and structures.  Where art thrives, the economy blossoms.

I spent 5 years in Florence, Italy.  The mayor of that city, Matteo Renzi, looks to the United States and its relationship and support of the arts as it encourages economic growth as an example of what is possible for Florence.  He recognizes that we have found a healthy balance in our cities and towns to support the arts industry and revitalize communities.  He sees our model as the Florentine future.

There is no good argument for the elimination of the NEA.  Not a social argument and, certainly and without any question, not an economic one.

I urge you to stand for the future of our country, and protect the NEA from any attacks on its survival.

With respect and thanks,

Bari Hochwald
President and Artistic Director
The Global Theatre Project