Oregon Shakespeare Festival director testifies before U.S. congress on performance arts funding

(Video note: Performances in video are credited to Oregon Shakespeare Festival) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon Shakespeare Festival was one of a few organizations across the country, advocating before U.S. lawmakers for the financial recovery of performing arts Wednesday.

Nataki Garrett, artistic director with OSF, testified before the United States House Committee on Small Business early Wednesday morning. During the panel titled, “The Power, Peril, and Promise of the Creative Economy,” Garrett noted the difficulties dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Almeda fire in 2020.

Garrett shared to lawmakers that OSF canceled roughly 800 shows, and laid off 90% of staff at the time. The organization then pivoted funds to help support staff that were impacted by the Almeda fire.

RELATED: Oregon Shakespeare Festival ‘drastically’ drop ticket prices among other new changes for 2022 season

“[I want] to highlight our economic and social impact, and offer ways that Congress can support the recovery of the creative economy,” Garrett said. “I am haunted by the choices I had to make to keep OSF afloat. But its even more difficult for the culturally specific smaller venue, or community based art organizations and their arts workers.” 

Courtesy: OSF, Hairspray

There’s currently three bills being considered to help performing arts. Nevertheless, Garrett and other event organizers are calling on Congress to act now on legislation, to help revitalize performances moving forward.

“The arts are a powerful economic engine that drives our region,” Garrett said. “It’s recognizing a simple fact that the arts and the artists, drive local economy. At the same time, it lifts people out of darkness.” 

Leave a Comment:

Note: By commenting below you agree to abide by the KOBI5.com commenting guidelines. View the KOBI5.com Comment Board Guidelines »

Anthony Carter
Anthony Carter is a reporter for NBC5 News. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2019. Anthony started his career as a print journalist, covering New York sports and the NBA Draft. He then started his own sports podcast and website covering the Arena Football League. Anthony moved to the Rogue Valley in 2019 as a news producer before joining the NBC5 News family. Anthony likes to workout at the gym, play basketball, and root for his Atlanta Hawks and New York Jets. Want to connect with Anthony? send him an email: [email protected]
Skip to content