What COVID-19 Means for Local Option Taxes (and What To Do About It)

Recorded On: 06/23/2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
12:45 p.m. EDT

About this Session

Local option taxes are the lifeblood of certain local arts agencies (and, through grants, their communities)--but they are also one of the components of government funding that may be hit longest and hardest by COVID-19. In this session, break down what may happen to local option taxes, including hotel/motel taxes, taxes on goods, taxes on construction, etc, that are sometimes substantial funding streams--and talk about how to prepare, mitigate, and advocate to address the challenge.

Learning Objectives
  • Breakdown what may happen to local option taxes due to COVID-19 and its aftermath.
  • Hear examples of how LAA leaders are working to try and mitigate the damage and find alternate funding streams to replace lagging local option tax funds.
  • Talk about how to advocate to address the loss in local option tax money or weather the storm.

Ruby Lopez Harper, Americans for the Arts
Jonathon Glus, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture
Erin Harkey, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

This session is a part of the 2020 Annual Convention and Public Art & Civic Design Conference

Ruby Lopez Harper

Senior Director of Local Arts Advancement, Americans for the Arts

Ruby is the Senior Director of Local Arts Advancement for Americans for the Arts. She is the Co-chair for the National Coalition on Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response, serves as Co-chair on the Support for Individual Artist Steering Committee for Grantmakers in the Arts and serves on the WETA Community Advisory Council. She is also on the board of the Gard Foundation. Prior to joining AFTA, Ruby was the Director of Grants and Services at the Greater Columbus Arts Council in Columbus, OH. At the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ruby focused on grantmaking, community development, economic development and tourism, and public art. She has a varied background that includes corporate affairs, marketing, and business administration. She served on the Emerging Leaders Council for Americans for the Arts and was the primary contact for the Arts and Economic Impact Study for Central Ohio. She also worked with PhilanthropyOhio on their Member Services Committee.

Originally from California, where she was a dance instructor in her spare time, Ruby worked with local community theatre companies creating choreography for their musical theatre productions earning numerous local, state and regional recognition for her work both on and offstage. She has and continues to serve on grant panels for the Ohio Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, MetroArts Nashville and the National Endowment for the Arts. Ruby has an associate degree from Cerritos College, a certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College, and is a trained meeting facilitator.

Erin Harkey

Deputy Commissioner, Programming, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Erin Harkey maintains dual roles at the City of Chicago as the Deputy Commissioner of Programming at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Senior Advisor for Arts and Culture, Office of the Mayor where she directs cultural policy and programs. Prior to joining the City, Erin held positions at the District of Columbia Arts Center in Washington DC, the Japanese American National Museum, the Music Center of Los Angeles County, the Arts Council for Long Beach, and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Erin has two master’s degrees in Public Art Administration and Urban Planning from the University of Southern California (USC) and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Howard University.

Jonathon Glus

Executive Director, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture

Jonathon is cultural advisor to the mayor of San Diego and responsible for a department that includes grantmaking and public art, creative industries, special events and film. His portfolio also includes international affairs with an emphasis on binational initiatives with the City of Tijuana and Baja, California, Mexico.

With extensive experience in arts tourism and advocacy, Glus’s current focus is centering cultural investment at the neighborhood level and at the border. 

Previous positions include CEO of Houston Arts Alliance; director of culture and creative economy for the city of Sacramento; and executive director of arts and culture for the city of Pasadena, CA. 

Glus studied art and architectural history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His undergraduate work was in urban economics and public policy at Indiana University, Bloomington, and liberal studies at Earlham College.  


What COVID-19 Means for Local Option Taxes (and What To Do About It)
What COVID-19 Means for Local Option Taxes (and What To Do About It) CAPTIONED
Captioned Archive Recording You must register to access.