March 08, 2016

Udall Introduces CREATE Act to Support Arts Businesses, Jobs in the Creative Economy

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall introduced a measure to support the development of arts businesses, jobs and the growth of the creative economy in New Mexico and across the nation. The arts and cultural tourism industries are significant drivers of the economy in New Mexico and many other states, and Udall's bill would help artists, entrepreneurs, and workers employed in cultural education and tourism better access federal programs and resources to grow their businesses and share their artwork with local communities. Udall announced the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act today during a speech at the National Arts Action Summit, a gathering in Washington, D.C., of hundreds of grassroots arts advocates and artists from throughout the country.

"The arts are part of New Mexico's unique heritage and culture, and they are crucial to our future. They have fostered our state's vibrant arts and cultural tourism economy, and continue to employ thousands of New Mexicans across the state," Udall said. "But artists and artistic entrepreneurs can face barriers when trying to raise money and get small business assistance. Supporting the arts nurtures our communities and the economy in New Mexico and across the country. That's why I've introduced the CREATE Act to help ensure that artists, galleries and museums, and aspiring artistic entrepreneurs can access resources and programs to help grow their businesses, create jobs and stimulate the economy, and share their artwork with our communities. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, which funds arts programs, I'll continue to work to support New Mexicans and others who create the unique artwork that distinguishes our state and nation, draws visitors to our communities and employs thousands of people."

According to a 2014 report by the University of New Mexico, nearly 1 in 10 jobs in New Mexico is related to the arts, arts and cultural education, and cultural tourism. Udall's bill is divided into three parts. The first would provide support to artists and entrepreneurs to create and sustain arts-related businesses. The second would support museums and arts institutions. The third would support arts in communities.

Key provisions include:
- Direction that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) should work with micro-lenders, traditional lenders and regulators to ensure that artists and entrepreneurs have access to micro-loans and that loan program criteria are not discriminatory toward arts-related businesses.
- Support for the development of SBA technical assistance programs targeted to meet the needs of the creative economy.
- A requirement that the Economic Development Administration and Rural Development Administration ensure that traditional economic development tools, such as incubators and grant programs, support the arts industry.
- Updates to the law to allow artists to claim tax deductions for charitable contributions based on the sale value of a piece of artwork, rather than the value of the materials used to create the artwork.
- The creation of an Artist Corps (similar to the AmeriCorps) within the Corporation for National and Community Service to help expand access to arts and arts education in communities.
- The creation of a demonstration project to promote creative and performing arts in local economic planning.
- Measures to expand cultural and educational opportunities for American students and families by encouraging foreign governments to lend artwork to U.S. museums and educational institutions and expediting the visa process for foreign visual and performing artists hosted by American organizations.