Stars hit DC red carpet to push for public arts funding

AARP Creative Coalition

TV and film actors hit Washington, D.C. Friday as part of the Creative Coalition’s push to increase public funding for the arts, citing their crucial role in the development of children and communities.

Members of the group’s delegation met with President Biden and Congressional leaders Friday, ahead of the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, before attending the coalition’s Right to Bear Arts gala Friday evening, where they spoke of the value of arts funding in their own lives and careers.

Actor Dulé Hill of “Psych” and “The West Wing” described art on the red carpet as a “bridge across boundaries” in a time of political polarization.

“Sometimes when we don’t always agree, we can find a meeting place through the message of art,” he said. “I think art teaches us empathy, it teaches how to lean in and listen, it allows us to look beyond ourselves.”

Arts funding is “almost the obligation of a nation that thinks it’s a good nation,” actor Brendan Hunt of “Ted Lasso” told The Hill. Hunt noted that the U.K. spends vastly more than the U.S. on arts funding despite having a third as many people.

“I think exposure to the arts, whether it makes you an artist or not, it makes you a more complete person,” he added.

Creative Coalition President Tim Daly, of “Wings” and “The Sopranos,” echoed that theme in remarks at the gala, saying “We don’t advocate just for artists, not by any stretch of the imagination.”

“We believe that every person especially every child in the United States should be exposed to and participate in the arts and not so that they can become a perfect artist, but because we know, and research shows, and it’s observable, that people who have a full curriculum on ours are more empathetic, more compassionate, more curious, more imaginative, more creative, and basically better human beings,” Daly added.

The gala also marked the first since the Creative Coalition announced its collaboration with AARP, the Entertainment Industry Commission on Caregiving. The initiative is chaired by “Community” actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who left the NBC sitcom in 2014 to care for her father as his Alzheimer’s worsened.

“I would love to be able to tell you that it is a looming crisis, but it is not looming, it’s here,” Daly said. “And it’s really important that we start having discussions about this so that we’re not caught flat-footed.

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