To weather the impacts of COVID-19 on the circus industry, community members across the U.S. came together and created the American Circus Association (ACA), a diverse volunteer network that advocates the legal and cultural recognition of circus arts. Now they’re working to advocate for the American circus on the political stage.
While most countries have their national circus arts advocacy organizations, the United States of America didn’t have one of its own until recently. Before COVID-19 began, the closest equivalent to it was the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO), founded in 1998 with a mission to promote the participation of American youth in circus arts and support circus educators. While AYCO has met success in advocating to expand circus arts programs across the country, there was, as yet, no organization whose focus was as broad as the whole sector’s needs. It was in the spring of 2020 that the ravages of the pandemic gave America’s circus industry the final push it needed to come together. As show closures and cancellations swept live entertainment venues like the waves of a hurricane, practitioners of American circus connected over Zoom calls to talk about and str...
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