Americans for the Arts CARES Act Update

Recorded On: 05/04/2020

imageAbout this Webinar

With billions of dollars newly added to replenish the popular Paycheck Protection Program and the SBA's Emergency Disaster Loans, this ArtsU free webinar on the federal CARES Act will feature the following:

  • Bob Lynch, Americans for the Arts President and CEO will provide an update on the billions of dollars already awarded to the arts and entertainment sector through the first round of CARES Act funding and a roadmap of what's coming next.
  • Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Americans for the Arts Action Fund Executive Director will share local success stories and best practices of artists and arts groups who have already successfully secured CARES Act funding and tips for still applying.
  • Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts Vice President of Research and Information will share findings from four active surveys that Americans for the Arts is currently conducting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts. 
  • Ruby Lopez Harper, Americans for the Arts Senior Director of Local Arts Advancement will provide a customized walk-through of the newly updated Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Resource and Response Center on the web.

Additional Speakers Include: 

  • Kendall Hardin, Architect of the ArtSparks Initiative
  • Ethan McSweeny, Artistic Director, American Shakespeare Center
  • Rick Stein, President and CEO, Arts Orange County
  • Doug Zbylut, Executive Director, Nebraskans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts is providing the arts and culture field with this and other COVID-19 webinars and resources at no charge to you. Please consider supporting our ability to deliver this important work with a donation by clicking HERE 

We also encourage you to become a member with us for access to even more webinars and other resources, please visit for more information 

Randy Cohen

Vice President of Research

Americans for the Arts

Randy Cohen is Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts—the national advocacy organization for the arts—where he has been empowering arts advocates since 1991. Randy stands out as a noted expert in the field of arts funding, research, and using the arts to address community development issues. He publishes Americans Speak Out About the Arts, the nation’s largest public opinion study about the arts, and produces the two premier economic studies of the arts—Arts & Economic Prosperity, the national economic impact study of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences; and Creative Industries, a mapping study of the nation’s 675,000 arts businesses and their employees. His 10 Reasons to Support the Arts blog received the Gold Award from the Association of Media & Publishing—their top honor for best blog post of the year. Randy led the development of The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. and the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture—launched in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute. In the late 1990’s, Randy collaborated with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to create Coming Up Taller, the White House report on arts programs for youth-at-risk; and the U.S. Department of Justice to produce the YouthARTS Project, the first national study to statistically document the impact of arts programs on at-risk youth. A sought-after speaker, Randy has given speeches in all 50 states, and regularly appears in the news media—including the Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and NPR.
Randy has been a policy specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts, founded the San Diego Theatre for Young Audiences, and worked in medical research for Stanford University and Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. His board work includes the League of Historic American Theaters. Randy is a past Chairman of the Takoma Park Arts & Humanities Commission, during which time the Commission completed a cultural plan, established the city’s Poet Laureate and public art programs, and led the development of a million-dollar conversion of the city council chambers into a performing arts space.

Twitter: @artsinfoguy

Kendall Hardin

Architect of the ArtSparks Initiative

Kendall Hardin provided the driving force behind ArtServe, the largest arts incubator in the country in Fort Lauderdale. Under her leadership, ArtServe was awarded the first Arts & Culture Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) in 1999, from a field of over 500 other national applicants. She was recognized in the same year as a Woman of Distinction in Broward County for her technology innovations benefiting the cultural industry in South Florida. She left ArtServe in 2000 to join Cylant Technology in Bend, Oregon, where she served as Chief Marketing Officer and helped develop the company’s foundation before moving to Reno in 2002. 

In the Pacific Northwest, Hardin spearheaded the visual arts program for the Spokane World’s Fair Exposition and worked on the Governor’s ARTSPLAN team in Washington State to pioneer one of the first public participation cultural plans in the country. In the mid-80s, she directed Atlanta’s Action Arts Plan 2000, the celebrated blueprint for the cultural explosion now underway in the Peachtree City. 

Hardin has assisted dozens of communities in designing numerous cultural amenities planning projects, including Main Street Programs and “Destination Downtown” initiatives, as well as the establishment of cultural arts districts, new local arts agencies and statewide advocacy programs.

She was selected to work for the National Endowment for the Arts as one of twelve national consultants for the NEA’s Advancement Program, serving the country’s most promising emerging museums and art centers. She’s impacted major institutions across the country - including Pacific Science Center, Seattle Opera, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, the African-American Heritage Society, and the National Museum of Naval Aviation - as well as dozens of museums, symphonies, theatres and cultural centers from Montana to Puerto Rico.

In 1999, she developed the groundbreaking arts and technology grant, “Southern Circuits” awarded by the NEA to underserved arts organizations in the nine states served by the Southern Arts Federation.

Hardin has over two decades of experience as a start-up consultant for small businesses and nonprofit organizations through her company Idea Factory, including clients in arts and entertainment, education, health care, the environment, and business services. Her institutional image and fundraising campaigns have captured top awards from numerous competitions in advertising, public relations, marketing and design - including a “Best of Show” Gold Addy Award for her “Born to Fly” campaign promoting the National Museum of Naval Aviation and both a Prestige Award and CASE Award for the University of West Florida’s “Discover West Florida” campaign. 

A popular presenter and trainer, her workshops have been offered through the Florida Association of Local Arts Agencies (FALAA), the Center for Arts Administration at Florida State University and the Southern Arts Federation, among others, to over 400 cultural groups in the Sunshine State. She also initiated Florida’s cultural tourism training program in Palm Beach County and created Florida’s “Marketing Survival Kit” for arts institutions. 

A Mortar Board Scholar and recipient of the Lydia Bates Fellowship, Hardin received her bachelor’s degree in arts history and graphic communication from the University of Illinois and her master’s degree in art history from Ohio State University, and has continued to pursue post-graduate work in business and arts administration. She is also an award-winning graphic designer and fiber artist. 

In 2004 she reorganized Nevada Opera and helped the company eliminate its $350,000 accumulated debt, and has served as Director of Development for the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Nevada in Reno. Having completed over 70 consultancies, she is a popular consultant in high demand for the Nevada Arts Council’s Circuit Rider Program offering technical assistance to emerging cultural organizations throughout the Silver State. She currently lives in Las Vegas.

Ruby Lopez Harper

Vice President, Equity and Local Arts Engagement

Americans for the Arts

Mexican, Mother, Wife, Dancer, Photographer, Poet and Social Justice Warrior.

Ruby is the Vice President, Equity and Local Arts Engagement for Americans for the Arts. Her portfolio includes external equity strategies and field education, leadership development, local arts advancement, and cohort building for the local arts agency field, arts and culture administrators, and arts marketers. She is the chief architect of the National Arts Marketing Project Conference. She was selected as a 2019 Arizona State University Practices for Change Fellow. She was recognized as an 2019 Inspirational Woman (Arts Advocate) by “And I Thought” Women in Literature. She is a steering committee member for the National Coalition on Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response, serves as Chair of the Gard Foundation, serves on the board for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (Grants Committee/Advocacy Committee) and serves on the WETA Community Advisory Council.

Ruby’s work has focused on equitable access, grantmaking, supporting individual artists, community development, economic development, cultural tourism, marketing and public art. She draws on a varied background that includes corporate affairs, community relations, volunteerism, employee engagement, marketing and communications, and business administration. She served on the Emerging Leaders Council for Americans for the Arts, was the primary contact for the Arts and Economic Impact Study for Central Ohio and recently served as a mentor with Arts Administrators of Color DMV. She is a 2017 National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Advocacy Leadership Institute Fellow, Class of 2017 American Express Leadership Academy Alum and Class of 2010 Next Generation of Leaders Fellowship program. 

Robert L. Lynch

President and CEO, Americans for the Arts

Robert L. Lynch is president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. With more than 43 years of experience in the arts industry, he is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance the arts in society, and in the lives of citizens.

In 1996, Mr. Lynch managed the successful merger of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, where he had spent 12 years as executive director, with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts. Under his 33 years of leadership, the services and membership of Americans for the Arts have grown to more than 50 times their original size. He has personally reached audiences in over 2,000 locations spanning all 50 states and more than a dozen nations, with diverse constituencies ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to the President of the United States.

During his tenure at Americans for the Arts, Mr. Lynch has overseen six mergers including the Arts and Business Council, Inc. and the Business Committee for the Arts into Americans for the Arts. He has also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action committee to establish arts-friendly public policy through engaging citizens to advocate for the arts and arts education.

Under his direction, Americans for the Arts has become a leader in documenting and articulating the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and their audiences, in strengthening our nation’s economy including its signature study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts community, Arts and Economic Prosperity V. He has also been instrumental in creating a strong portfolio of projects and information about the transformative power of the arts in non-arts areas such as civic dialogue, social problem solving and work with the Pentagon, West Point, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the arts and military.  

Mr. Lynch currently serves on the board of the Independent Sector. He has also served two terms on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2017, he was the inaugural recipient of the JFK Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts, and he was selected as one of the most influential executives in the nonprofit sector for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50.

Mr. Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and enjoys playing the piano, mandolin, and guitar. He lives in Washington, DC.

Ethan McSweeney

Artistic Director, Artistic Director, American Shakespeare Center

Ethan was named Artistic Director in June 2018 and made his Blackfriars directing debut with Julius Caesar followed by the world premiere of Julianne Wick Davis’ musical The Willard Suitcases. His internationally acclaimed work over the past two decades has been distinguished by both its remarkable diversity and breadth of achievement. In New York, his direction includes the Broadway revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards) and the premiere of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill; the off-Broadway premieres of John Logan’s Never the Sinner (Outer Critics and Drama Desk awards) and Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Persians, as well as world premieres by Kate Fodor, Jason Grote, and Thomas Bradshaw, among others. Nationally, his work on new plays, musicals, and revivals has been seen at most of the major institutional theatres in the country including the Guthrie, the Goodman, the Old Globe, the Denver Center, the Alley, Dallas Theater Center, South Coast Rep, Center Stage, the Wilma, the Pittsburgh Public, Westport Playhouse, the Arena Stage, and the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, DC, where his string of acclaimed classics includes: The Tempest, Much Ado about Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Ion, and Major Barbara. Internationally, he has spent two seasons at the celebrated Stratford Festival in Canada, staged multiple productions for The Gate in Dublin, and recently toured his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the Macao Arts Festival in China. His productions have been nominated for more than 75 awards and claimed 30 wins, including four for Best Director: Twelfth Night (Helen Hayes Award, 2017), A Streetcar Named Desire (Irish Times Award, 2013), A Body of Water (San Diego Critics Circle, 2006) and Six Degrees of Separation (Star-Tribune Award, 2003). Ethan served as the Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company from 2004- 2011; as a Trustee of SDC, the national labor union representing directors and choreographers, from 2005-2017; and as Treasurer on the inaugural board of the SDC Foundation since 2018. He received the first-ever undergraduate degree in Theatre and Dramatic Arts from Columbia University. More information (and pictures) is at

Rick Stein

President & CEO, Arts Orange County

During more than 14 years under Rick’s leadership, Arts Orange County has addressed the needs of the arts and culture community in Orange County, California by becoming a trailblazer among nonprofit arts councils worldwide-- augmenting traditional arts agency programs and services with its unique role as the community’s go-to arts consultant to government, education and nonprofit organizations. This has helped enable Arts Orange County to become a leading advocate for the arts and arts education on the local, state and national level.

Prior to his appointment at Arts Orange County in August, 2008, Rick transformed the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach into a major resident professional theatre over the course of more than 17 years as its Executive Director, growing it from an annual budget of $700,000 to $7 million, and producing more than 100 plays, including two national touring productions. There he also directed many notable productions, including several premieres.

Rick first came to Orange County in 1987 to serve as Managing Director of the Grove Shakespeare Festival in Garden Grove following a five-year stint as Director of Lincoln Theater at the University of Hartford (Connecticut), and holding management positions in two major symphony orchestras before that. Rick holds degrees in English from Columbia and Syracuse Universities and returned to Columbia for post-graduate study in drama on a National Endowment for the Humanities summer fellowship. He was sent to Korea on a cultural exchange by the International Theatre Institute-US, served on the executive committee of the League of Resident Theatres, and was a contributing writer to AMERICAN THEATRE magazine.

Rick is a past Chair of the John Wayne Airport Arts Commission (appointed by Orange County Supervisor Harriet Weider), past President of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals-Orange County Chapter, and past co-Chair (twice) of National Philanthropy Day-Orange County. From 2009 to 2022, he served on the board of Californians for the Arts/California Arts Advocates, a statewide organization promoting the interests of the arts community, including three years as its President.

He has been a guest lecturer at University of California, Irvine and California State University, Fullerton, and was a commencement keynote speaker at the Laguna College of Art and Design. He has served as a panelist or site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Western States Arts Federation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, Riverside Arts Council, New England Foundation for the Arts, Louisville Fund for the Arts, City of Pasadena, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, for which he also produced its State Arts Awards.

Although his career has largely been in the theatre, Rick’s first post after finishing graduate school was as Executive Director of a local arts agency, Oswego County Council on the Arts, located in Fulton, New York. Also, the theatre company he cofounded in 1977, Contemporary Theatre of Syracuse, continues operation today as The Red House, a highly successful producer of multi-disciplinary arts. He is a 33 year resident of San Juan Capistrano with his wife, Alison, an artist.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs, Americans for the Arts

Executive Director, Americans for the Arts Action Fund

Nina is both Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts as well as the Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. Since 1993, Nina has served as the chief policy strategist for Americans for the Arts’ federal, state, and local government and public affairs work, grassroots advocacy campaigns, policy development, and national coalition-building efforts with both cultural and civic organizations to advance the arts in America. In 2009, she spearheaded the very successful “Arts = Jobs” advocacy campaign that strategically secured $50 million of federal support for more than 7,000 arts jobs and millions of dollars more for arts infrastructure projects within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Nina produces several programmatic events annually, including National Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill; the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and the National Public Leadership in the Arts Awards, which are presented in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors.

Serving simultaneously as the executive director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected Political Action Committee, the only dedicated arts PAC in America, Nina mobilizes the political and legislative efforts of more than 420,000 citizen activists in advancing arts policy issues among legislators and candidates seeking federal public office.  She recently completed ArtsVote2012, culminating with high profile arts policy events at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. She is a graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in French Literature, and of The University of Richmond School of Law with a J.D.  She is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

Doug Zbylut

Executive Director, Nebraskans for the Arts

Doug Zbylut has served as Executive Director of Nebraskans for the Arts since July 2014. Nebraskans for the Arts is a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for the arts to federal, state, and local policymakers; supporting the importance of arts education, and promoting the arts and creative industries in Nebraska. Doug started out his career in higher education working in grants offices at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Creighton University. Doug then served as the executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha. He also served as the Deputy Director of the Omaha Children's Museum before working in the private sector with a high-tech firm, and it was during his time at the Omaha Children's Museum that he became more passionate about the importance of informal and experiential learning for people of all ages.

Doug holds a Bachelors of Political Science from University Nebraska-Lincoln and a Masters in Public Administration from University of Nebraska-Omaha. He enjoys attending performances and visiting (now virtually!) exhibitions and performances weekly with his wife.


Americans for the Arts CARES Act Update Recorded
Americans for the Arts CARES Act Update Recorded with Closed Captions