By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota
The South Dakota creative community has been one of the most severely impacted sectors of our state’s economy during the past year. Nearly 50% of South Dakota creative workers have been affected by unemployment, and over $205 million in economic losses were reported in creative economy businesses during 2020. Arts organizations across the state—94% of all arts programming groups—were forced to cancel events with audience attendance losses of 879,000 seats unfilled due to the pandemic.
Our state’s artists and arts organizations need help to get back on their feet and provide crucial services to our society, our communities and our families. That’s why the South Dakota Legislature heard the voices of grassroots arts advocates and passed HB 1169, declaring an emergency in the creative sector and appropriating $250,000 to the South Dakota Arts Council “to promote, stimulate, encourage, recognize and assist the arts.”
South Dakotans have proven, again and again, that they support the arts and understand the important work that is being done in Pierre on behalf of our creative industry. Arts advocates from every corner of the state called, wrote and emailed their representatives and members of the Joint Appropriations Committee to let them know how vital this emergency appropriation is to the survival and future success of the arts in South Dakota.
Cultural events are more important to all of us after the past year of social distancing and online arts instead of live performances. As we start to emerge from our isolation and begin to experience some degree of normal life, we all want to be sure that South Dakota’s creative sector continues to strengthen our communities and is not permanently damaged. The emergency appropriation of HB 1169 will help bridge the gap and help our artists and arts organizations move forward—and the grassroots support of South Dakotans like you made it happen. Thank you for sharing your voice with our legislative partners!
Please visit www.ArtsSouthDakota.org to learn more about advocacy opportunities in South Dakota communities.