Arts, culture coalition asks lawmakers for COVID-19 relief funding

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Thursday, a statewide coalition of arts and culture organizations held a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol, requesting support from lawmakers on a relief package to help recover after pandemic-related layoffs. 

According to the coalition, the package would allocate federal COVID-19 relief money to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). DEED would then manage a grant process to distribute the money. 

“We are really known for being supporters of the arts and the culture, of our environment, of our history just a really high quality of life,” Mary Meyers, of Artspace Projects, said. “And for me, I have children and I want my children and all children to have a place where they can thrive”

The coalition reports around 57% of the arts and culture workforce was laid off amid the pandemic, representing more than $2.2 billion in lost revenue.

Pandemic regulations and shutdowns over the past two years forced many groups and businesses in the arts industry to close their doors or reduce performances and trainings, the coalition added.

State Rep. Sydney Jordan (D-District 60A), who was in attendance, said, “The reason why people live in my community is because we have a thriving art scene. So investing in art, is not just investing in artists and support groups but it’s also investing in the people who are building buildings in my community.”