IMG_0723BALTIMORE, Md. (October 27, 2010) – For small businesses in the arts, the recession has been no laughing matter. That is, in fact, why arts entrepreneurs are willing to risk a few puns and punch lines, and join the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington on October 30.

Saving jobs and spurring growth in the creative economy are so important that the message must be carried to Washington by any means necessary, says Wendy Rosen, a national arts advocate and organizer of a group of art-industry rally-goers from the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Maybe a little humor will help deliver the message: It’s Not My Hobby, It’s My Job!” Rosen says about the rally sponsored by Comedy Central, and merging events called by The Daily Show’s host Jon Stewart and political satirist Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.

“Supporting artist studios and small shops that carry local and handmade items is the best way to help the local economy, and rebuild communities for a more sustainable future,” Rosen says. “History has shown that many small towns have become top arts destinations because artists have built creative communities and districts that attract cultural tourists. It starts with these smallest of small businesses and then the restaurants and inns and bigger businesses follow. We need Washington to understand the importance of Main Street and to support economic development initiatives that make opportunities for artists’ businesses.”

The issue is employment, Rosen says. As designers and makers of home, fashion and gift products, arts entrepreneurs often are self-employed or employing fewer than 25 workers. Their jobs depend on a robust economy in which their work can sell on Main Street. Yet their needs as small businesses too often fall below the radar of federal agencies that could lend support.

“When the Small Business Administration is focused on the needs of the smallest – the art entrepreneurs and the studios that are micro-manufacturers – then we’ll see a different type of economic development model, one that restores beautiful Main Streets and builds communities,” Rosen says. “Right now, jobs are being created by the smallest of small businesses –not those with a government-defined size of up to 500 employees, but those with fewer than 25 employees.”

Congress should rewrite the government’s definition of ‘small business’ so that these artisans and art dealers can be included and can benefit in programs to aid job creation and recovery, Rosen says.
Rosen is founder of the American Made Alliance, a nonprofit trade association that advocates on behalf of makers and retailers of handmade artisan products. Her company, The Rosen Group, publishes AmericanStyle magazine, for cultural tourists and art collectors.

Contacts: Wendy Rosen, American Made Alliance, wendy@rosengrp.com, 800-432-7238, ext. 226.