• gerard van weyenbergh

The American Alliance of Museum is asking Congress for $ 4 billion in emergency aid.

As harsh containment measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic are spreading throughout the world and in the United States, the cultural sector is facing an unprecedented drop in revenues.

In a letter dated March 18, Laura Lott, president of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Christine Anagnos, executive director of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and leaders of six other cultural associations ask the United States Congress a financial aid of at least $ 4 billion.

The letter expresses the growing concern of the cultural sector faced with the health crisis, which plunges its revenues. Nationally, our museums are losing at least $ 33 million a day and will be in desperate need of support to maintain jobs, protect our cultural heritage, help rebuild the country tourism industry, and survive the months to come .

The association stresses that museums employ 726,000 people and highlights the efforts made by cultural institutions during this period of confinement: digital archives, online learning tools, and virtual exhibitions.

The next day, the American Alliance of Museums warned that donors were at risk of reconsidering their support due to the fall in the stock market, a blow to American museums that depend mainly on philanthropy.

The first layoffs of museum staff have already started this week. More massive layoffs are causing concern on the ground, especially for the lowest-paid staff who will be hit the hardest. Congress must ensure that communities can support their local museums during this crisis .

Without immediate financial assistance, up to 30% of museums, mainly in small towns and rural areas, will not be able to reopen at the end of the pandemic.

And it is not on Donald Trump's side that museums will find comfort, the American president has been trying since coming to power to cut subsidies to federal cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Art.

Le journal des arts