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Statement on Senate’s NEA Appropriations from Americans for the Arts Action Fund President and CEO

Posted on: Nov 21, 2017

On November 20, 2017, the Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations allocated funding of $150 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch said about this action: “I am pleased to see the Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations allocate full funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies to continue their important work in awarding grants to cultural organizations and governmental agencies in every U.S. state, territory, and congressional district across the country. This action is in stark contrast to President Trump’s call for full termination of these agencies. I thank the strong leadership of Senate Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM), both of whom were awarded our Congressional Arts Leadership Award in 2017 and 2015, respectively.

“The Senate Appropriations bill is $5 million higher than the $145 million funding level allocated by the House of Representatives in July. As the Senate and House will need to reconcile to reach a final funding decision, Americans for the Arts is urging support for the Senate version. A portion of these federally allocated funds will specifically help expand the NEA’s arts therapy work with military personnel, veterans, and their families.

“Our grassroots advocacy this year has seen an all-time high with more than 187,000 messages sent to Congress and hundreds of full-page ads and op-eds placed in local newspapers across every corner of America explaining why NEA grants make a difference in their communities. The fact is advocacy works and is making an impact. I am proud of the work that arts advocates have already accomplished together and the work to come, and I thank arts champions in Congress, including Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Louise Slaughter and Leonard Lance, Senate Cultural Caucus Co-Chairs Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and the work of Americans for the Arts Action Fund in building a bipartisan, pro-arts majority in the U.S. Congress.”

Since the Administration announced its misguided proposal to terminate our nation’s cultural institutions—including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)—thousands of arts advocates have mobilized and joined forces together with nonprofit arts and arts education organizations, local and state elected officials, and business and military leaders all around the country. Americans for the Arts’ combined outreach to Congress is making a difference. Both the House and Senate have now flatly rejected termination calls to our cultural agencies. The action of November 20, 2017 also continues the welcomed news from earlier this year, when the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education proposed a $4 million increase to the Institute of Museum and Library Services and continued funding of $27 million for the arts education program within the U.S. Department of Education.

Americans for the Arts’ grassroots advocacy this year has seen an all-time high with more than 187,000 messages sent to Congress and hundreds of full-page ads and op-eds placed in local newspapers across every corner of America explaining why NEA grants make a difference in their communities. These tools and resources call all be viewed in Arts Mobilization Center.

To bolster these advocacy efforts with the latest data, Americans for the Arts’ released our Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) research study at our annual convention in June, before 1,200 arts leaders from 50 states. This is the fifth study of its kind produced by Americans for the Arts of the nonprofit arts and culture industry's impact on the economy—a $166 billion industry supporting 4.6 million jobs. It also documents the economic contributions of the arts in 341 diverse communities and regions across the country, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

You Can Make a Difference

Make your voice heard. We are staying in contact with Congress and the White House on this issue. You should, too. Join the Arts Action Fund to take political action. It’s free. We will send you alerts so you can respond to decision-makers fast.

Source: Americans for the Arts, 2017

Read more about the FY18 Senate Appropriations for the NEA and NEH here.