On Wednesday, May 19th, Democratic State Senator Susan Rubio hosted a press conference in support of her Senate Bill, SB805, “Save The Performing Arts Act Of 2021” in Boyle Heights at the Josefina Lopez’s Casa 0101 Theater with a group of activists, influencers, and Hollywood star power.
“Save the Performing Arts Act of 2021” is a bill that will provide infrastructure support and funding for small non-profit performing arts organizations and individuals in marginalized communities across California. This support will include 51 organizations and individuals throughout California. SB805 will establish the Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster which will provide a low-cost payroll and paymaster service for SNPAC (Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Companies). The goal of the legislation is to establish the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund to ensure that SNPACs can pay all workers minimum wage, particularly workers in marginalized communities. The idea is to support and stabilize local performing arts communities which are incubators for playwrights, actors, designers, directors, and other artists as well.
Photo Gallery after the Break
Among the notable actors and activists lending their voices in support of SB805 at the event were Josefina Lopez (writer of Real Women Have Curves), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless), Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds), Michelle Krusiec, French Stewart (Third Rock from the Sun), Edward James Olmos (Zoot Suit, Stand, Miami Vice and Blade Runner) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon and The Color Purple). All these folks had some time to speak their minds on how community theater was important in their own personal creative development and how community theater benefits people and businesses that surround theater’s creative force in towns or cities throughout California.
Some of the more memorable quotes among a host of significant and powerful statements offered during the presser were shared by Edward James Olmos and Danny Glover. Edward James Olmos said, ”I had to learn my craft, and I learned that, after 14 long years of theater before I stepped on the stage to do El Pachuco in Zoot Suits.” Next, Danny Glover intoned from the podium, “Being a teacher. She’s a teacher now. (speaking to Rep. Susan Rubio) Senator Rubio, I am so proud of you. For saying this is what we need, for our future, for our children, for our elders…We need this for the community! We need this bill. As Edward said, it should have been offered a long time ago. We shouldn’t have to demand this. This should be on our plate! This is where we talk about healing. Community theater is about healing. Community theater is about transformation. Community theater is about our story, not their story. but our story. Our stories are told in community theater!” The meaningful stories everyone who stepped up to advocate for SB805 had a to share, including powerful personal testimonies of how community theater changed or affected their lives were the most impactful and revelatory of the “Save The Performing Arts Act Of 2021” speeches.
The press conference was to highlight the necessity of SB805 passing in the Senate Appropriations Committee and it did the following day. But now, it has to go before the State Senate and then if it passes there it must then have voted for approval in Labor Committee, the Appropriations Committee and then move on to the Assembly Floor. Next it returns to the Senate for one more pass. At that point it will go to Governor Newsom to be either vetoed or to be sign into law. The next two weeks are critical to seeing SB805 make it past all of the hurdles before it can be made into law.
People who are passionate about the performing arts, and those activists who see this as an essential step to stabilizing and growing marginalized communities, can write, call, or email their state representative to support SB805 “Save The Performing Arts Act Of 2021” during the following two weeks to communicate how important this legislation is to you and your communities. This is the time to make your voice heard in support of the arts in California!