Among our many looming challenges one that has not gotten sufficient attention is that the US is in the midst of an unprecedented cultural depression--the arts have been devastated by this crisis like few other groups and billions of dollars are being lost across America.
In cities like NY, Broadway, performing arts and museums are not just part of what makes the city so vital, but they fuel an entire economic eco-system of restaurants, hotels, small businesses, etc. And that business will be shut down for another year, 18 months in all.
A generation of artists and arts professionals, already making a precarious living will be driven forever from their work. Arts organizations will fail. And film and television production have also suffered enormously. The arts sector in the US is bigger than the ag sector.
It's a vitally important part of our economy. But it is, of course more than that, it is essential to the vibrancy of our society, it is part of the life's blood of any civilization. Losing arts institutions, threatening the long term future of fragile art forms, has many costs.
We lose much of what knits us together, what elevates us, what forces us to think, what enables us to laugh and cry. This is not about a luxury for a rich. It is about what makes us who we are. I don't see leaders talking about this in a serious way. I don't see plans to help.
But if we don't act now, the economic necrosis will begin, we will lose much that can be reclaimed. It should be--like all forms of COVID crisis relief--a priority. It won't be until we have a new president and Congress...but that should not stop leaders from shaping plans now.
Nor should it stops members of the community from stepping up & framing the problem as a critical priority. Nor should it stop each of us from doing what we can to send the message that we must prioritize the arts, tourism and culture for reasons that go far beyond economics.
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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