Dance Worker Digest | May 2024

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Dance Worker Digest | May 2024


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Dance Worker Digest
May 2024

This month's topics cover diversity initiatives, new data on the arts' impact on the U.S. economy, expanded disaster relief for artists, health services for dancers, and more. 

Advocates Defend Diversity Initiatives Amid Legal Challenges

Image of a gavel, balance, and books

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the use of affirmative action in admittance practices at colleges and universities last summer, a growing legal backlash against corporate diversity programs has unfolded. Emblematic of this is the lawsuit against Fearless Foundation—a non-profit that provides grants, tools, and mentorship to women of color to combat underfunding in venture capital—which alleges that their grant program violates a federal statute prohibiting race-based discrimination in contracts.

The Council on Foundations and Independent Sector filed an amicus brief last December in support of the Fearless Foundation citing that the grant program is constitutionally protected as expressive conduct under the First Amendment. At the same time, in Nashville, a legal brief submitted by Melody Fowler-Green through the Metro Human Relations Commission reaffirms the constitutionality of anti-racist initiatives.

These actions underscore the necessity of legal backing to protect diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives—including funding models and support mechanisms in dance—aimed at addressing underfunding and systemic barriers faced by historically disinvested communities.

• Review the Council on Foundations amicus brief
• Review the Nashville brief reaffirming the constitutionality of anti-racist programming
• Review a summary of the Fearless Fund case

NEA and BEA Releases New Data on the Arts’ Impact on the U.S. Economy

Orange background with icons representing arts and culture: a camera; a book; dance shoes; instruments, etcOn March 25, 2024, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released new data providing insights on the arts and cultural sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the data reveals that in 2022, the arts and cultural industries reached a record high, contributing $1.1 trillion, or 4.3% of GDP, to the U.S. economy. However, growth was not sector-wide, with performing arts organizations, non-government museums, and arts-related construction among the industries that have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. This underscores the ongoing recovery challenges and need for targeted support for the dance sector.

• Check out the national summary brief
• Explore the interactive graphic on arts and cultural production
• Review the press release about the data release

FEMA Reforms Expand Disaster Relief for Artists and Self-Employed Workers

FEMA logo and U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo.The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has implemented major reforms to help self-employed individuals, including artists, receive assistance directly from the agency instead of solely through the Small Business Administration (SBA). This change—effective for disasters happening on or after March 22—focuses on those with business materials at home or in their vehicle.

As a part of the new regulations, FEMA may provide self-employed survivors with some initial financial support to replace disaster-damaged tools and equipment or other items required for a specific trade or profession. The process includes a FEMA inspection to assess damage and requires proof of identity, U.S. citizenship in the household, and lack of insurance coverage for claimed items. This will enable dance workers—many of whom are entrepreneurs, gig workers or self-employed—to more easily reopen their businesses after a disaster.

• Review one-pager on FEMA updates
• Learn how FEMA's changes will benefit artists and creatives
• Check out the full text of the changes

Dance/USA Releases 5-Year Financial Trend Analysis in 2023 Impact Report

The Dance/USA logoIn their inaugural 2023 Impact ReportDance/USA reports on the shifting financial landscape of the dance ecosystem since the pandemic through their investigation of revenue, expense and employment trends of 708 registered 501(c)(3) dance organizations from 2018 to 2022.

Key takeaways include:

•  Overall the sample showed a decline in both revenue and expenses from 2019 to 2021.
• Total revenue is returning to pre-pandemic numbers but earned revenue is only at 69% of previous levels.
• Contributed income—a reliance on grant and donor funding—is up as of 2022; however, the percentage increase differs for companies based on budget size.
• Large dance companies received a large infusion of government support in response to the pandemic.

By understanding the financial impact of the pandemic on the dance sector, Dance/USA aims to help better plan for the future.

• Check out the 5-Year Trend Analysis on pages 28-33

The Entertainment Community Fund Offers Health Services and Financial Wellness Support for the Dance Community

Image of people conversing in a room together. ECF’s purple and blue branding colors rest over the left side of the image.The Entertainment Community Fund (ECF)’s Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts provides primary and specialty care, including gynecology, podiatry and sports medicine at their Times Square location. For individuals in need of assistance enrolling in a health plan, free and unbiased insurance counseling and enrollment services are available on-site through the Fund’s Artists Health Insurance Resource Center (AHIRC). 

Plus, dance workers can turn to ECF’s Financial Wellness Program for a variety of workshops on topics like the fundamentals of investing, debt management, building credit, tax preparation, and more.

• Learn more about the Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts
• Learn more about the Financial Wellness Program

Photo courtesy of The Entertainment Community Fund.

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