(New York, NY) — This week, PEN America joined a diverse coalition of stakeholders in providing the Biden-Harris administration with a series of policy recommendations aimed at supporting America’s literary, arts, and cultural sector. The statement, signed by over 80 arts organizations from around the country, presents priorities for the arts at the federal level, including issues of racial equity, economic recovery, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. PEN America hopes these recommendations will persuade the Biden-Harris Administration to increase federal support for the arts community, as well as recognize the industry’s essential role in pursuing broader economic and social recovery over the coming years.

“The first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration provide an excellent opportunity for leaders to emphasize the value of the arts in our society, not only for enhancing the nation’s vitality, but as a critical part of the economy that needs relief,” said Thomas O. Melia, director of PEN America’s Washington D.C. office. “Since last March, we have witnessed how COVID-19 has dramatically harmed artistic and cultural organizations. As America addresses the consequences of pandemic, deeply-rooted racial injustice, and our nation’s economic crisis, it is essential that arts and culture organizations have adequate funding as they help us rebuild our communities. Now more than ever, we are reminded of the power and importance of the arts. PEN America stands with partner organizations in urging the incoming Administration to recognize the recovery of this sector as one of our nation’s top priorities.”

PEN America has laid out a series of free expression priorities for the Biden-Harris administration; we urge the White House to make specific reference to “literary arts” in policy proposals to support arts and culture amid the pandemic. We also call for new federal effort to support both artistic institions and individuals writers and artists akin to the New Deal Federal Writers Project and the Federal Arts Project. Read that full agenda here.