Additional federal funds are being requested from artists who work in the field nationwide. In conjunction with the Be An Arts Hero campaign, workers in this industry purport that their endeavors invest more into the economy than agriculture and mining combined. According to Matthew-Lee Erlbach, a Chicago playwright:
“When we look at Illinois, it’s $30 billion in added value to Illinois’ economy, which is massive. It supports over 224,000 jobs in arts and culture. That’s people in front of the camera and on stage, to sound technicians to pyro technicians, engineers, puppeteers, museums docents, people who are working in broadcast, you name it. So when you look at all those jobs in Illinois, you really want to put an economic floor under them because if they go, that’s a huge chunk of Illinois’ economy that just evaporates.”
Over 200 artists have written letters as part of the campaign. One of them is E. Faye Butler, a Goodman Theatre Chicago artist who said:
“Love us back a little bit. We need you. We need your support. We have families, homes. People have a misconception about artists as these wildflower people that roam the streets and don’t need money. We’re always thought of those without a job. People always look at us and go, ‘OK, so that’s fun. When are you going to get a job?’ This is a job. This is my life, and it’s hanging in the balance. For all of those arts workers out there, we need you. We’re independent contractors and we need your support. So fight for us.”
Should the Defend Arts Workers Now (DAWN) Act become law, artists and related businesses would receive grants valued at $43.8 billion.