The Pasadena Folk Music Society received a message from Aengus Finnan, Executive Director of Folk Alliance International, a group that advocates and supports folk music around the world. Among other things, they have been working to facilitate performers in their efforts to bring their music to the United States. The U.S. Senate is considering a bill to improve an important aspect of this process and he tells how people in the U.S. can help pass this bill. You can also read another message, this one from the Performing Arts Alliance.
Aengus Finnan’s letter about the The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act
Support S. 2466
Dear Folk Alliance International (FAI) community members,
As FAI staff attend our first Arts Day on the Hill today in Washington DC, we are writing to ask for your help with an issue that is vital to US presenters, agents, and managers who present and/or tour non-US artists inside the United States: the timely processing of the O and P visas.
FAI’s request is in solidarity with other members of the Performing Arts Visa Working Group, a coalition of organizations across the United States which includes the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Americans for the Arts, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), League of American Orchestras (LAO), The Recording Academy and the National Council for the Traditional Arts.
We believe it is vital that international artists be able to perform in the United States and hope that you will voice your support of the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, S. 2466,(which has been re-introduced by Senators Hatch and Leahy). This ARTS Act will improve processing of artist visa petitions filed by, or on behalf of, nonprofit arts-related organizations simply by ensuring enforcement of current statutory requirements. Action now will ensure that the U.S. visa process for international artists is reliable, efficient, and affordable.
Take action now in the following ways to ensure strong bipartisan support:
• Encourage colleagues to support the act through social media, calls, and email.
• Download this valuable resource compiled and written by Artists from Abroad.
Congress recognized the time-sensitive nature of arts events when writing the 1991 federal law regarding O and P visas, in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) is currently instructed to process O and P arts visas in 14 days. While USCIS has made recent efforts to observe this timeframe, there is a chronic history of extreme unpredictability in the timing of the artist visa process, with wait times of up to six months.
American nonprofit arts organizations and artists in communities large and small across our country, provide an important public service and boost international diplomacy by presenting foreign guest artists in performances, educational events, and cultural programs in communities across the country. Only with consistent improvements over time, will confidence in the U.S. visa process continue to be re-built among U.S. petitioning organizations and foreign artists alike, greatly enhancing international cultural exchange.
Aengus Finnan, Executive Director