By Aman Jain. Originally published at ValueWalk.
The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on people of all professions, including artists. To help this group, the City of Sacramento is considering giving a monthly paycheck to local artists. This sort of coronavirus stimulus check for artists is actually part of the city’s Guaranteed Basic Income program.
Coronavirus stimulus check for artists
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has proposed a pilot program to support the city’s creative economy. This coronavirus stimulus check for artists, if approved, will be an unconditional payment.
“Basic income programs have produced positive outcomes for individuals and families, and we are eager to try this approach in Sacramento,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “Many artists struggle to get by financially, and a small infusion of funds could give them the ability to focus on their work without fear.”
The authorities are proposing setting aside $10 million that the city got in federal COVID relief funds, for administering the Guaranteed Basic Income program. If approved, the program would offer monthly income to artists to compensate them for financial losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sacramento is currently surveying local artists to get help in deciding details of the program, including how the money should be distributed. After the program is approved, the eligible artists could get the money by this fall.
“The City’s Office of Arts & Culture is seeking input from local artists and creatives on a potential Guaranteed Basic Income for Artists (GBI) program,” the City announced on its website.
Is this the right use of money?
Though the city authorities believe in supporting local artists, there are many who believe it is a waste of funds. Such people are of the view that guaranteed income programs do not usually use the funds intended for those who need financial help the most.
Moreover, another argument against guaranteed income is that it encourages many to opt out of work and stay at home. There are studies showing that universal and guaranteed income programs have actually significantly reduced the yearly hours worked among the income recipients.
Opponents also argue that most struggling artists have another job to support themselves until they are established. With the job market in good shape owing to federal stimulus programs, plenty of jobs are available for artists to support their living.
Sacramento is not the only city that is considering a plan to support artists. Last year, New York City also outlined a plan to use almost $6 billion of COVID-19 recovery funds to support artists, taxi drivers and the homeless. Under the plan, about 1,800 local artists, who suffered financially during the pandemic, got $5,000 in stimulus checks.
NYC also came up with a separate program, called the City Canvas, which was an initiative from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and ArtBridge (nonprofit). Under the program, about 60 artists were selected to showcase their artwork on construction fencing and sidewalk sheds in the city.
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