Crafting Solutions


Crafting Solutions

We have two up arrows and a “told you so” to share this week.

 The panel that advises on the best uses for federal coronavirus assistance money in Arkansas last week recommended that $10 million of it go to the state’s struggling convention and visitors bureaus, advertising and promotion commissions and public convention and event facilities.

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As Arkansas Business reported on Nov. 2, these entities are struggling because of the pandemic-related downturn in business. In Little Rock, at least 239 events at facilities managed by the LRCVB have been canceled, resulting in a $2.2 million hit to the bureau’s budget, and the bureau has laid off 30% of its staff permanently.

Tourism, the No. 2 business in Arkansas, has benefited hugely from municipal promotion efforts and convention and event venues. Helping these entities out is the right thing to do.

“Told you so.” Economists and public health experts are coming to the conclusion that suppressing the coronavirus and protecting the economy are two sides of the same coin, not competing goals, according to an article last week in the Wall Street Journal. Among the policy suggestions are widespread testing and focusing lockdowns on sectors of the economy most at risk of spreading the disease while allowing others to operate largely as normal.

 The Windgate Foundation has given $17.5 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to build a program dedicated to crafts. “Craft is important for Crystal Bridges and aligns with our mission because it is an inherently inclusive field that has been more accessible to women, people of color, immigrants, indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities,” the museum’s Rod Bigelow said.

We’ve always thought that many crafts — quilting is our favorite example — were done as much for the artistry as for their tangible benefit.