Cultural institutions should be included in relief package

In a letter to the editor, Laurie Norton Moffatt writes, "We know how vital arts and cultural institutions are to the fabric of our society, and our critical sector should not be left behind."

To the editor:

As you know, the health emergency has forced the shutdown of arts and cultural organizations across the United States. Norman Rockwell Museum, which closed March 13, is one of the thousands of institutions affected. While our priority is the well-being and safety of our staff, volunteers, patrons and community, we must also plan for the world after the crisis subsides.

To that end, we urgently ask you to join us in advocating for financial relief for nonprofit arts organizations to be included in the $2 trillion stimulus package currently being debated in Congress. The relief package is expected to include funding for many affected industries, including airlines, casinos, cruise ships and more.

We firmly believe that museums and cultural institutions, which employ millions of people and bring vibrancy, economic impact, and quality of life to the communities they serve, should be included. The need for government support at this time for these institutions and their employees cannot be underestimated. We know how vital arts and cultural institutions are to the fabric of our society, and our critical sector should not be left behind.

There is a powerful way you can help right now, as the House of Representatives debates the relief package. Go to the American Alliance of Museums website for talking points and a letter template to send to your representatives in Congress. We urge you to do this as soon as you can today.

We realize that this crisis has created significant need in every community. As our dedicated supporters, you understand that arts and culture are needed now more than ever, and will be needed even more urgently when this is over to bring our communities back together to heal and rebuild.

Please offer your support and act today.

Laurie Norton Moffatt
Stockbridge

The writer is the director/CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum.