The Arts Advocacy Day call to action included:
Restore National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Funding to $176 million
Ask Congress to support a budget of $176 million for the NEA in the FY 2009 Interior Appropriations bill to restore funding for the creation, preservation, and presentation of the arts in America through the NEA’s core programs—Access to Artistic Excellence, Challenge America: Reaching Every Community, Federal/State Partnerships, and Learning in the Arts.
Increase Funding for Arts Education through the U.S. Department of Education
Ask Congress to support a $53 million funding level for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education programs in the FY 2009 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. The Arts in Education programs support newly emerging models in high-poverty schools that improve arts learning.
Allow Artists a Tax Deduction for Gifts of Their Own Work
We urge members of Congress to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation, S. 548 or H.R.1524, which would allow artists to take a fair-market value deduction for works given to and retained by nonprofit institutions.
Congressional Arts Breakfast
Arts Advocacy Day officially kicked off at a Congressional Arts Breakfast on Capitol Hill, organized by Americans for the Arts in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus. At the breakfast, Americans for the Arts and The U.S. Conference of Mayors jointly presented the 2008 Award for Congressional Arts Leadership to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Watch a video or listen to a podcast of selected speakers.
Speakers at the breakfast included:
- Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
- Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus
- Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), recipient of the 2008 Congressional Arts Leadership Award
- Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
- Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Chief Sponsor of H.R. 1524, the artists' deduction bill
- Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH)
- Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), recipient of the 2007 Congressional Arts Leadership Award
- Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Honolulu, on behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors
- John Legend, Musician
- Kerry Washington, Actress
- Eileen Mason, Senior Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
- Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities
- Joe Lamond, President and CEO, NAMM
Musical performances at the event were given by:
- Marleena Coulston, VSA arts vocalist
Peter Yarrow, acclaimed folk singer
Musician John Legend speaks to arts advocates at the Congressional Arts Breakfast.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (center) accepts the 2008 Congressional Arts Leadership Award from Robert Lynch (left), President and CEO, Americans for the Arts and Mayor Mufi Hannemann (right), Honolulu, HI.
Special Hearing of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
For the second year in a row, in conjunction with Arts Advocacy Day, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, hosted a hearing on the importance of investing in the arts. Rep. Dicks once again invited Americans for the Arts to organize a panel of witnesses to give testimony before the subcommittee which has jurisdiction over funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The hearing, Role of the Arts in Fueling Creativity and Innovation, was held on Tuesday, April 1, immediately following the Congressional Arts Breakfast.
The Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy
On the eve of Arts Advocacy Day, best-selling author Daniel Pink delivered the Americans for the Arts 2008 Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy to a capacity crowd in the Concert Hall of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Read Pink’s speech, A Hard-Headed Case for the Arts.
On Arts Advocacy Day, a delegation of ArtsVote2008 representatives met with domestic policy directors from the presidential campaigns of Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama to discuss their support for the arts, arts education, and related federal policies. ArtsVote2008 is an initiative of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund to raise the profile of the arts on the presidential campaign trail. The day after the meeting, Senator Obama spoke in support of the arts on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania.
Selected Press Coverage About Arts Advocacy Day
- 4/1—Associated Press— Redford, Legend ask lawmakers to better fund the arts
- 4/1—USA Today—Robert Redford & John Legend encourage money for the arts
- 4/2—Washington Post— Reliable Sources - For Spring Fever, a Little Dose of Hollywood
- 4/2—The Hill— Redford Testifies Before Congress (Video)
- 4/6—The New York Times—Let Computers Compute. It’s the Age of the Right Brain.
Americans for the Arts Organizes Hearing on Arts Advocacy Day 2008
For the second year in a row, in conjunction with Arts Advocacy Day, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior hosted a hearing on the importance of investing in the arts. Rep. Dicks once again invited Americans for the Arts to organize witnesses to give testimony before the subcommittee which determines the budget levels for the National Endowment for the Arts. The hearing, Role of the Arts in Fueling Creativity and Innovation, was held on Tuesday, April 1, following the Congressional Arts Breakfast. The entire hearing can be viewed at CSPAN's online archives.
Those testifying and topics addressed were:
Robert Redford, Chairman of the Sundance Preserve, actor
Mr. Redford is both an Oscar winning filmmaker and the chairman of the Sundance Preserve in Utah. He has been in such notable films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and also won an Oscar for his directorial debut on Ordinary People. As the chairman of the Sundance Preserve, he is the creator of the noted Film Festival held annually. Mr. Redford spoke to the subcommittee about both the importance of the arts in his life and his work with the Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable. Read Mr. Redford’s testimony (pdf).
John Legend, musician
Mr. Legend is a five-time Grammy Award winning R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist. His latest album has been certified Platinum and has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide. Mr. Legend is a member of the Americans for the Arts' Artist Committee and was awarded the Young Artist Award in 2007. He is also the founder of the “Show Me Campaign”—a grassroots movement to fight worldwide economic and spiritual poverty through fostering sustainable development at the individual, family, and small community levels. Mr. Legend discussed the importance of a creative foundation in today’s society and the opportunity to use arts to spread a positive message. Read Mr. Legend’s testimony (pdf).
Kerry Washington, actor and filmmaker
Ms. Washington is an emerging actress who has appeared in such films as The Last King of Scotland and Ray. She has also worked behind the scenes as both a director and a producer. Ms. Washington is a member of Americans for the Arts’ Artist Committee and was awarded the Young Artist Award in 2005. While attending George Washington University as a presidential performing arts scholar, Ms. Washington helped create a support system for people of color in the arts called Shades of the Fine Arts. She spoke on how National Endowment funded programs impacted her life and continue to affect children’s participation in the arts. Read Ms. Washington’s testimony (pdf).
Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Mayor of Honolulu
Mayor Hannemann serves as the Chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He represented the whole U.S. Conference of Mayors when he discussed their new 10-point plan, Strong Cities, Strong Families, for a Strong America, which includes the arts as a driving force for America’s economy and diplomacy. Mayor Hannemann also discussed the example that Hawaii’s arts culture can give to the rest of the country. Read Mayor Hannemann’s testimony (pdf).
Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board
Mr. Spector joined The Conference Board after serving as the vice dean of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a trustee of Wesleyan University and a Board Member of the March of Dimes. He is a former senior partner at McKinsey & Company, and chief executive of two startup technology companies. Mr. Spector also co-authored the 2007 book We Are Smarter Than Me, which addresses the way businesses can harness the power of collective intelligence. Mr. Spector discussed the importance of creative professionals in the workforce and the results of the report Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce. Read Mr. Spector’s testimony (pdf).
Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts
Mr. Lynch discussed the economic impact of the arts (including statistics for some of the subcommittee members’ communities) and the dynamic work of local arts agencies that are providing resources and programs to citizens across the country. Read Mr. Lynch's testimony (pdf).