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New York, NY (October 1, 2020) – Be An #ArtsHero, in association with a groundbreaking coalition of Youth Arts Organizations around the country, has launched #ArtsAreMySuperpower, a nationwide letter writing effort to galvanize the more than 6 million youth directly impacted by the coalition’s work. The campaign seeks to educate and inspire youth to use their voices and compel our government to save their future in the arts and culture sector of our country.

Representing arts professionals, artists and educators employed by children’s theaters, museums, cultural spaces, music venues, arts schools and camps, the coalition includes Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA), The American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE), International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), Association of Teaching Artists (ATA), iTheatrics, and New Victory, making up over 20,000 organizations and individual arts workers nationwide. Together, they will supply families with free letter-writing and art-creating templates to express their love of the arts and demonstrate its significant contribution to our nation, offering young people a chance to participate in civic engagement, perhaps for the first time.

The #ArtsAreMySuperpower initiative, taking place throughout the month of October, advocates for Congress to support the DAWN Act (Defend Arts Workers Now), urging the U.S. Government to pass a comprehensive arts relief package in recognition of the Arts and Culture sector’s $877 billion value added contribution to the national economy (which is 4.5% of GDP), employing 5.1 million Arts Workers.

“Without massive, immediate Federal relief to the Arts & Culture sector, we will lose an entire generation who would have otherwise joined the labor force of the Creative economy, not to mention consumers of Arts and Culture,” said the founders of Be An #ArtsHero. “The fine and performing arts economies are estimated to lose 50% of all jobs, due to COVID-related unemployment. This is nothing short of an economic depression. We need proportionate relief from Congress in order to sustain and rebuild our sector and the communities in which we are economic drivers. Without it, our youths may be forced to divert their dreams, our social fabric will tear, and our economy will suffer catastrophic results locally and nationally.”

“Young people have a right to access the arts as a central part of their lives and their education. Our children deserve a future that prioritizes the arts and a government that recognizes the importance that the arts play in their development,” says Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, Executive Director of Theater for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA). “The pandemic has compromised the sustainability of the entire arts ecosystem, including the artists, arts educators, and arts organizations that serve children and young people every day. It’s time to see and hear what the next generation has to say.”

“Personally, singing has allowed me to vent and let out my feelings, leaving me feeling lighter and happier,” says student advocate Devika. “I want everyone to feel this way and be able to create a safe space for themselves through the arts and that’s why I co-founded Music For Change, in the hopes that it will help uplift people’s spirits around the world!”

“As a high-school Asian-American involved in musical theatre and the arts, I’ve realized that more and more POC are getting involved and participating in it,” says student advocate Rosanna. “For me, the arts means community and acceptance- everyone is incredibly welcoming and theatre has always been a safe and supportive environment for me. I started Music For Change (music-for-change.org) a non-profit that utilizes music/arts to make a positive impact on our world.”

Research conducted by the New Victory Theater in New York City and research firm WolfBrown demonstrate the benefit of the arts towards young people’s social-emotional growth and their ability to imagine the future. In the only longitudinal study of its kind, New Victory joined with under-resourced school communities with no arts programming and found that children exposed to the arts are much more able to imagine the lives of others who are different from them and much more likely to continue seeing and participating in the arts as they grow, further indicating that investment in youth engagement with the arts will benefit the U.S. economy for years to come.


BE AN #ARTSHERO is a national, non-partisan grassroots movement that emphasizes Arts & Culture’s contribution to the economy, urging Congress for immediate, proportionate relief. We are a united, intersectional, sector-wide coalition and have been covered by The Washington Post, Forbes, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CBS New York, TODAY, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and more; our viral detailed OPEN LETTER TO THE U.S. SENATE has been signed over 15K times by the leaders of every major Arts organization; Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and TONY winners; rank and file, blue collar Arts workers; and countless prominent figures including Rosario Dawson, Cher, Mark Hamill, Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Lewis Black, Rainn Wilson, Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Tony Goldwyn, Bebe Neuwirth, Cyndi Lauper, Carla Gugino, Ted Danson, Jane Fonda, Billy Porter, Julianna Margulies, Jane Krakowski, et al. BeAnArtsHero.com.

THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES/USA (TYA/USA) is the leading national organization representing over 1,200 member theatres, organizations, and individual arts professionals across the United States committed to the professional field of theatre for children, young adults, and families. Recently, 1300 professionals from 46 states and 21 countries participated in the 2020 TYA/USA Virtual Festival & Conference. Dedicated to ensuring that all young people have access to high-quality theatre experiences, TYA/USA offers a variety of programming that connects professionals working in the sector through in-person gatherings and virtual sessions; provides opportunities for field-wide learning and leadership development; disseminates field news and research through a variety of print and online channels; and advances the field both internally and externally through a range of advocacy efforts. Founded in 1965, TYA/USA is the only theatre organization in the United States which has the development of professional theatre for young audiences and international exchange as its primary mandates. TYA/USA is the United States Center for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ). More information can be found at www.tyausa.org.

’s (INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PERFORMING ARTS FOR YOUTH) mission is to cultivate and connect a vibrant and diverse international community of creators and arts professionals who are dedicated to outstanding performing arts experiences for young people. Through its annual Showcase, IPAY facilitates professional development, global exchange, networking, and marketplace opportunities. IPAY continues these efforts year-round by stewarding the artists, agents, presenters, and cultural support organizations that comprise its membership.

THE AMERICAN ALLIANCE FOR THEATRE & EDUCATION (AATE) is among the most recognized arts education organizations works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theatre arts in their lives provided by proficient, talented artists and educators. Based in Washington, DC, AATE continues to advocate for arts education, serving as a national co-sponsor of Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and on the leadership team of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS). AATE co-authored the National Standards for Theatre Education K-12, sits on the Arts Education Partnership steering committee, the Arts Education National Advisory Council and serves on the editorial board of the Arts Education Policy Review.

THE ASSOCIATION OF TEACHING ARTISTS is the oldest, independent organization serving Teaching Artists in the country. It is a practitioner led network and clearinghouse for information at the intersection of art and education that builds the knowledge base of Teaching Artists. ATA seeks to raise the visibility of teaching artists through its programming and support and advancement of policies that support and expand freelance teaching artists’ opportunities for a sustainability career in arts education. ATA reaches approximately 30,000 Teaching Artists and arts professionals through its website, digital professional development, newsletters, and social media. www.teachingartists.com

NEW VICTORY opens new worlds to young people and families through extraordinary performances, education and engagement programs. Bringing kids to the arts and the arts to kids since 1995, this nonprofit theater has become a standard-bearer of quality performing arts for young audiences in the United States. Reflecting and serving the multicultural city it calls home, New Victory is committed to arts access for all communities of New York City to experience the exemplary international shows on its stages. A global leader in arts education, youth development and audience engagement, New Victory has been honored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, by Americans for the Arts with a national Arts Education Award, and by the Drama Desk for “providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.” New Victory is a signature project of New 42, a cultural nonprofit whose mission is to make extraordinary performing arts a vital part of everyone’s life from the earliest years onward.

Founded in 2006 by educator and author Timothy Allen McDonald, and headquartered in New York City, iTHEATRICS is the world’s leading authority on musical theater for young people. Every day iTheatrics works to make theatre more accessible for students everywhere and, in turn, leads a dynamic and talented group of artists and educators who are changing the world through the transformative power of musical theatre. iTheatrics develops collections of musicals for leading musical theatre licensing agencies. Working with esteemed partners in the United States such as the President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, New York City’s Department of Education, the Kennedy Center, McGraw-Hill Education and NBC Universal, iTheatrics develops and implements dynamic programs to build cost-effective and sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved schools. iTheatrics produces the international Junior Theater Festivals, the world’s largest festivals exclusively dedicated to celebrating young people and student-driven musical theatre. To find out more, log on to iTheatrics.com.