Throughout Fractured Atlas’s history, we have stepped in to advocate on policy issues that affect our membership, or, more broadly, that impact the legal and economic context in which the arts are created and distributed. We have particularly emphasized important issue areas that are not a focal point of the major national arts advocacy organizations. Here’s a brief overview of our work in this space over the years.
Fractured Atlas has a unique role at the intersection of the arts and technology worlds. As such, we are well-positioned to dismantle the false dichotomy embodied by the “Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley” narrative. When policymakers want to hear from artists and creators, they all too often find themselves talking to the highly-paid lobbyists of corporate media behemoths. Needless to say, their interests and those of the artists in our grassroots membership are not always aligned. Fractured Atlas has worked to harmonize cultural, media, and technology policy. For example, we have pushed for sensible copyright reform that protects artists without unduly undermining their ability to build on each other’s work.
Public funding for the arts is important, but arts advocacy must go beyond lobbying for more dollars from government agencies. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels have myriad non-funding levers to improve working conditions and provide opportunities for artists and arts organizations. These include everything from zoning regulations to tourism programs to tax policy. Fractured Atlas has worked to educate policymakers on the needs of the arts community and to identify mechanisms — beyond direct funding — to address them.
Health Insurance Policy
Prior to 2010, Fractured Atlas’s federal advocacy was mainly focused on healthcare policy. With untraditional and episodic employment relationships, artists as a group were badly underserved by America’s employment-based health insurance model. Fractured Atlas developed and promoted reform strategies from both the left and the right that sought to decouple insurance from employment. This work culminated in our vocal support of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The ACA is not perfect, but it succeeded in giving artists equal access to health insurance as other Americans, combined with vital subsidies for those who purchase coverage on the individual market.