”Your industry kept this country sane.”

By on May 3, 2022 in Featured News, News

Rice & Daly Talk About the Importance of the Arts in America — Especially Over the Past Two Years

WASHINGTON, DC — In remarks this past Friday before a luncheon meeting of the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange and The Ripon Society, Congresswoman Kathleen Rice and actor Tim Daly discussed the importance of the arts in America, and the especially important role the arts and entertainment community has played in our country over the past two years. 

Rice represents the 4th District of New York in the U.S. House and is Co-Chair of the Live Events Caucus, which was established to highlight the contributions and impacts of the vast and diverse ecosystem of live events, and how these events can drive economies, create jobs, and provide memorable experiences that uplift communities and culture.  

Daly serves as President of the Creative Coalition, a nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community that was established in 1989.  He was joined at Friday’s lunch by Robin Bronk, The Creative Coalition’s CEO, and 11 other Coalition members, including: Iain Armitage, Justin Bartha, Marissa Berlin, Anthony Carrigan, Julian Casablancas,  Jason Isaacs, Gloria Calderón Kellet, Caity Lotz, Ross Patterson, Kyla Pratt, Jordan Rosenberg, Sheryl Lee Ralph, KT Tunstall, and Mario Van Peebles.  

Rice kicked off the discussion by talking not only about her lifelong love of the arts, but her support for arts funding in Congress and why the pandemic has given people a renewed appreciation for the role of the arts in our lives. 

“It is such an honor for me to be here today,” the Empire State lawmaker said.  “I come from a family of frustrated actors. My mother always wanted to be on the stage, but she never made it there and instead, she had 10 kids. We kept her kind of busy.  But I know that artistic pursuits are often overlooked when we discuss federal spending priorities. Hopefully, the reason why you’re here is to bring awareness to people on both sides of the aisle as to how important it is for us to support the arts in this country. As a member of Congress, I have advocated for robust funding for the arts this year, I signed a letter supporting $204 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts in the 2023 fiscal year. This is an investment that is long overdue.

“I’m also co-chair of the Live Events Caucus, which focuses on the important role of entertainers and behind-the-scenes workers in driving local economies and building communities. I just want to leave you with one thought.  For two years, we were basically in a lockdown situation, only seeing family and maybe a few handful of friends, working from home. I can’t thank enough all of the people who are a part of the Creative Coalition — the actors, producers, writers, and people who kept the sanity of the American public, because all we could do was watch TV to be entertained. That was it. There was no going to movies. Your industry kept this country sane.”

Daly agreed, and opened his remarks by talking about the mission of the Creative Coalition and the importance of arts in our lives.

“We’re an organization,” he observed, “that endeavors to inspire and motivate and mobilize our audiences and ourselves around issues of public importance, especially arts and arts education, but also things that benefit us as a society at large. We’ve done a lot of stuff with mental health issues, obesity issues, issues of media literacy, veterans’ PTSD, and suicide awareness.”

“I always have to remind everyone that we are not an organization that advocates only for artists. In fact, our main goal is to make sure that the arts reach everyone, especially children, not so that they can become professional artists — that’s a tough road — but because we know and all our evidence and all the data backs up the fact that children will be more empathetic, more compassionate, kinder, more imaginative, more creative, successful, and productive human beings if they have a full curriculum of arts throughout their lives in school. I remember the first time I came here, I read a statistic that if children have a full curriculum of arts, they’re three times more likely to graduate from high school.

An arts education, Daly added, will also prepare young people for life after school.

“Fortune 500 companies in this country have said repeatedly that the number one quality they’re looking for in future employees is creative thinkers,” he stated.  “Now, creative thinkers are not just on the street. You can’t just pick someone up. The creative mind is something that needs to be exercised like a muscle. And the arts are the gym for the creative mind. Our imaginations are the things that are going to get us out of all our problems and help us find different ways to attack the things that are our challenges.”

Given all of the challenges facing America today, Daly said he believes that the arts are more important than ever in our lives.

“I think that, especially in these times, we really need to think of arts education and exposure to the arts and participation in the arts as a vaccine,” he said.  “It’s like a vaccine against dropping out of high school, against being stuck in prison, against creative minds that are going fallow, against imaginations that are shriveling up because there’s nothing to spark that imagination.”

“The arts, I believe, are one of the most effective and profound and transformative and powerful change agents available to us as human beings. So please, let’s fight for our children’s imaginations. Let’s fight for their creativity. Let’s fight for our collective right to bear arts.” 

To view the remarks of Rice and Daly before the lunch meeting this past Friday, please click on the link below:

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