Arts organizations have expressed support for the recent election of Joe Biden as President, but are hoping that relief for their beleaguered operations could come sooner than January when he and Vice President-Elect Kamla Harris are inaugurated. Messages supporting the incoming administration and stressing the need for aid began soon after major news organizations called the Pennsylvania (and therefore Electoral College) race on November 7.
“Joe Biden will be the most consequential president for the arts industry in a generation,” said Actors’ Equity Association Executive Director Mary McColl. “At a time when live entertainment is still largely dark because of the coronavirus, we will finally have a partner in the White House who will create a national strategy to bring the pandemic under control and put everyone in the arts back to work. Until then, we need to reinstate pandemic unemployment so that displaced workers can pay their bills, increase arts funding and finally pass a COBRA subsidy to make health insurance affordable as unemployment stretches on.”
“We mobilized to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at a desperate time for the theatre and everyone who works in the arts,” added Equity President Kate Shindle. “I am so moved by the dedication of our actors and stage managers. They volunteered so much time and energy to electing a president who cares about workers every single day, and will be laser focused on getting us safely back to work in the wake of this unprecedented pandemic and months-long shutdown.”
With New York going for Biden by more than 12 percentage points (55.7-43 percent) and Manhattan by far more (84.5-14.5 percent), it isn’t a surprise to see theatre organizations siding with the new administration. Particularly given their struggles to get GOP buy-in for relief they consider necessary for survival. Broadway has lobbied hard for the passage of the Save Our Stages act, which would bring $10 billion in economic aid to arts organizations and venues. But while the U.S. House of Representatives passed the latest iterations of the HEROES Act with SOS included, the GOP-led Senate did not take up the legislation prior to the election, opting to prioritize the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice.