policy and advocacy
Arts Advocacy Day 2008 Held on Capitol Hill
On April 1, 2008, Americans for the Arts, in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus and 87 national arts organizations from around the country, enlisted arts, education, entertainment, and policy leaders on Capitol Hill for Arts Advocacy Day 2008. More than 540 arts leaders and advocates, including President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch, fanned out across Capitol Hill and communicated with more than 275 members of Congress. In these meetings, advocates used the 2008 Congressional Arts Handbook to share information on important issues affecting the arts. In addition, more than 5,500 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 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
Musician John Legend speaks to arts advocates at the Congressional Arts Breakfast.
- 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
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. Listen to 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. The Clinton and Obama campaigns currently have issued arts policy statements.
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.