The Issue: Investing in the Nation's Workforce and Creative Economy

Introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) at Art Advocacy Day on March 8th 2016, the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act aims to more thoroughly serve the people, places, and programs that make our nation’s creative economy prosper in all its cultural, social, and commercial forms. This sweeping legislation expands on the research of numerous economic studies, such as Americans for the Arts’ Arts and Economic Prosperity, our Creative Industries maps, and the Artists, Entrepreneurs, and the Creative Economy Statement of Concern in the Congressional Arts Handbook.

Through minor adjustments to existing federal programs, the legislation takes steps to better invest in our country’s workforce and creative industries, while empowering the entrepreneurial spirit of artists and encouraging their role as contributors to the small business community.

The CREATE Act aims to support the people who comprise the creative economy, namely artists and creative entrepreneurs, by:

  • Expanding programs at the Small Business Administration (SBA) to increase microloans, business loans, and technical assistance for artists;
  • Requiring the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Administration ensure that traditional economic development tools, such as incubators and grant programs, support the creative economy throughout the country; and
  • Ensuring access to FEMA’s disaster relief assistance for artists impacted by natural disasters.

The CREATE Act supports creative community development, improving the places each of us call home through provisions including:

  • Developing a model to promote the creative arts in local economic initiatives, such as cultural district planning; 
  • and
  • Creating an Artist Corps to increase national service through the arts, as called for in the Serve America Act.

The CREATE Act seeks to amend and enhance federal tax policies surrounding the creative economy by:

  • Modifying the rules to encourage charitable contributions of fractional gifts;
  • Lowering the capital gains tax pertaining to art to make it uniform; and
  • Allowing artists to take an income tax deduction of the fair market value of their work when making a charitable contribution.

Our recent Americans for the Arts/Ipsos survey reveals that the majority of Americans see the importance of the arts and culture in their communities nationwide. The CREATE Act can directly support half of the top 12 priorities that Americans identified as being most deserving of government funding, such as funding individuals to make art; providing art in parks, downtown areas and public places; and increasing tourism throughout the United States. 

Focus Forward Solutions:

An investment in the creative economy is an investment in our nation's economy. 

1. Find more details in the Artists, Entrepreneurs, and the Creative Economy Statement of Concern in the Congressional Arts Handbook.
2. Watch the CREATE Act webinar recorded on November 2, 2016 to learn more about this bill, its implications, and next steps in the legislative process.
3. Attend Arts Advocacy Day 2017 to meet with your Members of Congress about the importance of the CREATE Act!
4. Join the CREATE Act Google group to stay updated on the bill's development.
5. Take Action! Take two minutes to call on your U.S. Senators to co-sponsor the CREATE Act!

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Chris Alexakispolicy