02.08.16

Leahy Introduces Bipartisan Legislation To Support The Vermont Arts

ARTS Act Helps Foreign Artists Obtain Visas In Order To Perform In U.S., Including Vermont

WASHINGTON (Monday, February 8, 2016) – Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced bipartisan legislation Monday to support nonprofit arts organizations in obtaining visas for visiting foreign artists.

Currently, nonprofit arts organizations such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra have to wait months while visa applications for their visiting foreign artists are processed.  A nonprofit can pay a fee to speed up this lengthy process, but the cost is often out of reach for many organizations.  The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, which Leahy introduced with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), responds to this problem by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to provide expedited review of applications for O- or P- visa applications, and to do so without charging nonprofit organizations. 

“Organizations such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Performance Lab, and Burlington City Arts enrich our state’s dynamic culture, are integral to our economy, and ensure that all communities benefit from the remarkable power of the arts,” said Leahy, who successfully championed the ARTS Act in 2013 when he steered comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate.  “The ARTS Act acknowledges the unique challenges that nonprofit arts organizations confront with our visa system and would assist them in their effort to bring international arts and culture to our communities.”

Jaime Laredo, music director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, said:  “Passage of the ARTS Act will strengthen the climate for international cultural activity and benefit U.S. audiences and performers. Orchestral music is deeply rooted in and inspired by global influences.  Ensuring that the visa process is efficient, reliable, and affordable will better enable nonprofit arts organizations like ours to partner with international artists as we bring the dynamic and transformative power of music to our communities.” 

More than 80 national organizations consisting of musicians, orchestras, museums, performing artists, and local arts organizations such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, support the ARTS Act.  A copy of the bill can be found online.

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