The Authors Guild is proud to endorse the bipartisan Creative Economy Revitalization Act (“CERA”) which was introduced on Friday August 13, 2020 in the House of Representatives by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA). Together with the 21st Century Federal Writers’ Project Act of 2021, which Rep. Leger Fernandez co-sponsored with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), CERA aims to rejuvenate the flagging creative economy and provide employment opportunities for creative workers, including authors.
The bill will establish a Work Projects Administration–style grants program administered by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Secretary for the National Endowment for the Arts. Under the program, state and local governments as well as public and private not-for-profit organizations will be eligible to apply for grants to hire creative workers and produce public arts projects. Specifically, it will:
- Get creative workers back into jobs by creating a competitive workforce grants program within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
- Administer grants to eligible government, non-profit, for-profit organizations, and state and local workforce boards through the Department of Labor in coordination with the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Require that grantees create art that is public and accessible to the public such as free concert series, large-scale murals, photography exhibits, published stories or dance performances.
“We are very excited by the legislative efforts underway to help America’s struggling creative workforce, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the early twentieth century,” said Authors Guild President Douglas Preston. “After fighting cuts in arts funding during the prior administration and battling a pandemic that devastated the creative economy, we creators are truly heartened by Congress’s renewed focus on investing in arts and culture.”
Rep. Leger Fernandez’s office consulted with the Authors Guild on the legislation, specifically on provisions controlling copyright ownership, and incorporated our recommendations into the bill to ensure that creators retain copyright ownership of the works they make using program funding.
We commend Rep. Leger Fernandez and her staff for prioritizing the well-being of creative workers, and look forward to lobbying for CERA’s passage.