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OPERA America: Contact Congress Regarding COVID-19 Relief for the Arts

Stage Directions • Industry News • March 20, 2020

The coronavirus has already had a devastating economic impact on America’s arts and culture sector — some reports indicate that financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.2 billion. Opera companies and other arts organizations have responded to calls from health and elected officials and have canceled performances across the country. Freelance artists and independent workers who support the arts sector have seen the suspension of their livelihood overnight.
Congress is moving swiftly on a massive COVID-19 relief bill. Opera stakeholders across the country need to speak up. And if you are among the many advocates who have weighed in already, we thank you and ask you to contact Congress again.

In unison with national arts and culture organizations, OPERA America has identified critical areas of federal assistance that need to be included in this third relief package. We urge everyone in the opera field to ask their federal elected officials for the following:

  • Support multiple forms of enhanced incentives for charitable giving that support the full breadth of the charitable sector, including an above-the-line tax deduction available to all taxpayers, whether they itemize returns or not.
  • Support dedicated COVID-19 relief funding for the arts sector, administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, and full access to other forms of direct COVID-19 relief provided to the nonprofit sector.
  • Activate nationwide Disaster Unemployment Assistance for workers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors who are sick, quarantined, furloughed or laid off, or whose individual or family circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19 or government containment efforts. Many artists and arts workers may not otherwise have access to state unemployment benefits.
  • Streamline the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance program and provide loan forgiveness options.

Whether you’ve already communicated with Congress or not, this is another important time to speak up and be heard. Thank you for your ongoing advocacy on behalf of the opera field.


OPERA America has endorsed the following letters to Congress:

Arts and COVID-19 Statement to Congress

Charitable Giving Coalition Statement

Nonprofit COVID Relief Statement

You can stay in touch with us about this ongoing issue by emailing
Further information from OPERA America: 



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