Pittsburgh Arts Council Travels to DC to Push for Funding, Arts Issues

Mar 23, 2015

A delegation from Pittsburgh will stress the importance of the arts Monday and Tuesday in Washington, DC.
Credit Kelly Strayhorn Theater

A delegation from The Pittsburgh Arts Council is in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday to participate in National Arts Advocacy Day.

Monday will feature briefings and discussions, and on Tuesday arts advocates will meet with individual lawmakers. There are some long-standing issues facing the arts, such as funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, tax policy and arts education.

This year, there are a couple of new areas of focus including integrating the arts in veterans programs.

“There are collaborative programs to help returning veterans, art-centered therapies and such as that, we’re seeking more funding for those types of activities,” said David Pankratz, research and policy director for the Council.

Net neutrality will be another hot topic.

“Net neutrality is important to the arts and culture world in terms of artistic expression, freedom of information, those kinds of things. So maintaining that is very important,” said Pankratz.

The arts are a major economic driver nationwide, statewide and in Allegheny County, according to Pankratz.

“Generating over 20,000 jobs, $410 million in household income, then tax revenue — $74 million in tax revenues,” he said.

The council is taking a delegation that will also include staff from Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania and 14 Master of Arts Management students from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to tackling national issues, Pankratz said this also gives advocates a chance to meet with statewide counterparts to tackle issues unique to the commonwealth – such as proposed tax on certain event tickets that were previously tax-exempt.

Delegation members will meet with Reps. Keith Rothfus (R), Mike Doyle (D), Mike Kelly (R), Tim Murphy (R) and Bill Shuster (R) along with Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R).