policy and advocacy
Arts Advocacy Day 2007 Held on Capitol Hill
On March 13, 2007, Americans for the Arts, in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus and 93 national arts organizations from around the country, enlisted arts, education, entertainment, and policy leaders on Capitol Hill for Arts Advocacy Day 2007. More than 450 arts leaders and advocates, including President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch, fanned out across Capitol Hill and met with more than 300 members of Congress. In addition, more than 2,800 e-mails were sent to members of Congress, encouraging them to take action on several arts-related issues.
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 2008 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. The NEA is a solid investment in the economic growth of communities, as well as in the educational success of children and youth, through its commitment to reaching underserved populations and ensuring that all Americans have access to the arts. We request that the NEA restore its 1992 funding level of $176 million, which represents a $52 million increase, allowing it to increase its grants to arts organizations.
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 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. The Arts in Education programs support newly emerging models in high-poverty schools that improve arts learning. The Model Development and Dissemination grants program has funded a total of 105 projects, identifying models of excellence in arts education that impact schools and communities nationwide. The Professional Development grants program has supported 56 projects that serve as national models. Increased funding will allow more model projects to be supported and will allow their findings to be more widely disseminated.
Allow Artists a Tax Deduction for Gifts of Their Own Work
Under current law, creators and collectors are treated differently when they donate tangible works (e.g., paintings or manuscripts) to museums, libraries, educational, or other collecting institutions. A collector may deduct the fair-market value of a work, but creators may deduct only its "basis" value—essentially the cost of materials such as paint and canvas. 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.
Rep. Betty McCollum (center) accepts the 2007 Award for Congressional Arts Leadership from Robert Lynch (right), president and CEO, Americans for the Arts and Mayor David Cicilline (left), Providence, RI.
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 2007 Award for Congressional Arts Leadership to U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN). 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
- Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), recipient of the 2007 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
- Chairman Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
- Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu, Louisiana
- Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Keynote Speaker
Wynton Marsalis gives his keynote address at the Congressional Arts Breakfast.
- Dr. Sheila C. Johnson, CEO and nationally recognized arts philanthropist and the co-founder of BET Television.
- Mayor David Cicilline, Providence, on behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors
- Jane Powell, Actress
- Chris Klein, Actor
- Morgan Brown, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
- Anna Weselak, President of the National PTA
- Musical performances at the event were given by:
- Melody Gardot, recently awarded the 2007 VSA arts International Young Soloists Award
- Dudley Connell and Sally Love, performing bluegrass music
Special Hearing of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
Immediately after the Congressional Arts Breakfast, there was a special hearing on the importance of investing in the arts—the first such hearing in 12 years. The hearing was called by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, which has jurisdiction over funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. In his first public action on arts issues as chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Dicks invited Americans for the Arts to organize a panel of witnesses to give official testimony.
In these meetings, advocates also provided members of Congress with copies of the 2007 Congressional Arts Handbook, which includes information on important issues affecting the arts. The handbook is available online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AAD/Handbook/.
The Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy
On the eve of Arts Advocacy Day, veteran broadcast journalist and Chairman of the Board of The MacDowell Colony Robert MacNeil delivered the Americans for the Arts 2007 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. An mp3 file (22MB) as well as a podcast of MacNeil’s speech, titled “Out of the Disenlightenment,” is now available for download.
Selected Press Coverage about Arts Advocacy Day
- 3/12—Bloomberg News—Arts Advocates Ask for 40 Percent Government Funding Increase
- 3/13—Washington Post—Robert MacNeil and The Cudgel of Culture
- 3/13—The Hill—Op-ed by Bob Lynch: No Child Left Behind Act wrongly left the arts behind
- 3/13—Bloomberg News—Celebrities Tell Congress Funding of Arts Is Good for Business
- 3/13—Yahoo! News (via AP)
- 3/14—Associated Press—Activists seek return to ’92 funding peak
- 3/14—Seattle Times—Arts supporters find receptive ear in D.C.