policy and advocacy
Headlines of the Week
- Incoming House Education Chairman Talks About NCLB
12-13-2010: Rep. John Kline (R-MN) told the New York Times that some aspects of NCLB may be considered next year. Read the full article here.
- Coburn Amendment to Ban Earmaks Defeated
12-06-2010: Last week, Sen. Coburn's amendment that would have placed a ban on earmarks in FY 2011, FY 2012, and FY13 appropriations was defeated by a vote of 39-56. Many cutural project earmarks would have been included in this ban as well as funding for VSA and the Kennedy Center. You can see how your Senator voted by clicking on Roll Call Vote #255 online here.
- Coburn Amendment Banning Earmarks Includes Arts Ed Programs
11-29-2010: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is joined by Sens. McCaskill (D-MO) and Mark Udall (D-CO) in offering an amendment that would ban earmarks in FY 2011, FY 2012, and FY 2013 appropriations. While it is obvious that many arts-related project earmarks would be included in this ban, the broad way that this amendment is written would also likely prohibit funding to VSA and the Kennedy Center for their arts education programming. The amendment could even impact the competitive grants of the Arts in Education program at U.S. Dept of Education as well, but that is less certain. Americans for the Arts will continue to monitor these developments to ensure support for arts education.
- Arts Advocacy Day Registration Now Open!
11-22-2010: Join arts advocates from across the country in Washington DC on April 4–5, 2011 at National Arts Advocacy Day! With more than 100 new members of Congress taking office next year, it is critical that arts advocates let their members of Congress know that the arts are an economic engine and a priority for the country. Watch a video of highlights from last year's event on the Arts Advocacy Day homepage.
- Americans for the Arts Government Affairs Staff to Present Post-Election Webinar
11-15-2010: The Government Affairs staff of Americans for the Arts will present a 2010 Post-Election Analysis on the Arts Webinar on November 18th at 2:00 pm EST/11:00 am PST. In this webinar, they will provide a comprehensive analysis of federal, state and local election results and ballot initiatives, and what impact those results will have on the future of the arts and arts education. Find more information or register online here.
- House and Senate Party Leadership Elections Scheduled for Mid-November
11-01-2010: Every two years after the general election, Republican and Democratic House and Senate caucuses convene to select their officers including Majority and Minority Leaders. This year, the party caucus leadership elections are scheduled for mid-November when Congress returns for the lame duck session.
- White House Celebrates National Arts and Humanities Month with Arts Awards and Online Chat
10-25-2010: Timed to coincide with National Arts and Humanities Month, the White House held two arts events. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) held their annual National Arts & Humanities Youth Arts Awards at the White House on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. First Lady Michelle Obama presided over the event and recognized 15 programs for their effectiveness in developing creativity and fostering academic success for young people. Prior to the awards, PCAH leaders including visual artist Chuck Close, ballet dancer Damian Woetzel, and PCAH co-chairs Margo Lion and George Stevens Jr. held the first-ever online chat to discuss about the Committee’s work and the administration’s support for the arts and humanities. View video from the events here.
- Department of Education to Hold Next Education Stakeholders Meeting This Week
10-18-2010: The U.S. Department of Education has announced the next Education Stakeholders Forum to be held on Friday, October 22. The Department has held a number of these meetings on different topics as their primary public outreach regarding issues surrounding education reauthorization. Americans for the Arts has been monitoring these forums for any impact on arts education. You can find more information about this forum on the department's website.
- White House Proclaims October as National Arts and Humanities Month
10-11-2010: National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast celebration of culture in America. Held every October and coordinated by Americans for the Arts, NAHM is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. President Obama issued a White House proclamation to recognize the value of the arts and humanities and to kick-off this month’s celebrations.
- Congress Passes Continuing Resolution
10-04-2010: Before they traveled back to their districts in preparation for the November elections, Congress delayed finalizing appropriations legislation and passed a continuing resolution to keep the government running through December 3. This legislation will keep funds flowing to all federal agencies at 2010 levels and gives Congress more time to work through the appropriations process after the elections.
- House of Representatives Salutes Americans for the Arts' 50th Anniversary
09-27-2010: Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of Americans for the Arts. Longtime arts and culture champions and co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Todd Platts (R-PA) introduced House Resolution 1582 to highlight Americans for the Arts' commitment in servicing local arts agencies, arts advocacy, arts education, and the groundbreaking cultural sector economic research that has become the hallmark of Americans for the Arts for 50 years. Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Vern Ehlers (R-MI), and Rush Holt (D-NJ) joined the caucus co-chairs on the House floor to make statements in support of the proclamation. Watch video of the floor debate here.
- Congress Scheduled to Consider Resolution Honoring Americans for the Arts' 50th Anniversary
09-20-2010: The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider a resolution this week which recognizes the 50th anniversary of Americans for the Arts. The resolution, H.Res.1582, was introduced by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Todd Platts (R-PA) and now has more than 25 cosponsors.
- Celebrate Arts in Education Week! September 12 - 18, 2010
09-13-2010: In late July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring the week following the second Sunday of September as Arts in Education Week. Visit our website to find ways you can get involved and promote arts education in your community this week!
- Congress to Resume Session Next Week
09-06-2010: Congress is expected to return to Washington, DC next week after a month-long August recess. With many members looking toward the November elections, there is little time to complete a large slate of unfinished legislation, including the FY 2011 appropriations bills which fund all federal programs, including funding bills for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Senate Committee Calls for Increased Support for Arts Education
08-30-2010: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a slight increase to the Arts in Education (AIE) program at the U.S. Department of Education, from $40 million in FY 2010 to $42 million in the FY 2011 budget. The committee also instructed the U.S. Department of Education to undertake dissemination of arts in education research findings. Arts advocates have long sought details from this research to gauge the success and scope of the AIE grant programs.
- Investing in Innovation Fund Awards Grants to Arts Education
08-23-2010: The U.S. Department of Education announced 49 awardees of Investing in Innovation Fund (“i3”) grants and three are directly related to arts education: Studio in a School, Inc. (New York, NY), The Beaverton School District Arts for Learning Lessons Project (Beaverton, OR) and the Everyday Arts for Special Education (New York City Department of Education, District 75). The three programs are each receiving grant awards between $4 and $4.6 million. Read more about i3 grants here.
- U.S. Department of Education Announces 2010 Arts Education Grant Recipients
08-09-2010: The U.S. Department of Education has announced the recipients of the 2010 Model Development and Dissemination Grants. The department awarded 33 grants in 14 states. These grants seek to strengthen student learning through standards-based arts education and integration of arts instruction into other subject areas. View the list of recipients here.
- U.S. House Designates "Arts in Education Week" in September
08-02-2010: The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution designating the second week of September as "Arts in Education Week." Authored and introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), this resolution is the first congressional expression of support celebrating all the disciplines comprising arts education. Read the resolution here.
- NEA Receives Funding Increase in House Subcommittee
07-26-2010: Last week, the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets the initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a $2.5 million increase for the NEA in its FY 2011 spending bill. This proposed increase for the agency is significant in light of a spending freeze on federal discretionary funds and a lower budget request by the administration. Currently funded at $167.5 million, this increase would bring the NEA's budget to $170 million. In his statement, Chairman Moran acknowledged that, "the increase recognizes the value we place, as a nation, on our artistic and cultural heritage."
- House Subcommittee Level Funds Arts in Education Programs
07-19-2010: Last week, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee agreed to level-fund the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education at $40 million. This marks the first step in the FY 2011 appropriations process. The House may take further action on this bill; however, it is likely that final appropriations actions will be on hold until after the election this fall. Read more about the Arts in Education programs here.
- NEA and HUD Hold Webinar on Two Federal Funding Opportunities
07-12-2010: On July 7, 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) held a joint webinar and announced two new funding opportunities for the arts community. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman has been spearheading negotiations with multiple federal agencies to broaden their grant guidelines to include components for arts and culture. Local arts agencies are encouraged to work with their city and county governments to apply for these new funding opportunities to create more livable communities through the arts. The two new opportunities are the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant and a combination of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program and the Sustainable Community Challenge Grant program.
The webinar covered both new funding opportunities, highlighting where nonprofit arts groups can participate. Access the full PowerPoint now, and check back at www.hud.gov/webcasts in the coming days for the full webinar. Additionally, you can read HUD’s press release.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: The pre-application deadline is July 26, 2010 and full applications are due August 23, 2010.
Click here for the full synopsis.
- President Obama's Proposed Spending Freeze Nets Bipartisan Approval
07-05-2010: Recently, congressional leaders from both parties met at the White House and agreed to adopt the president’s proposed three-year freeze on all federal discretionary spending not related to defense. President Obama proposed the freeze in his FY 2011 budget to address concerns about the growing federal deficit. His budget proposal was transmitted to Capitol Hill in February but has yet to be debated and voted on in Congress due to disagreements on procedural issues and a crowded legislative agenda. Although it is still too early to know the final impact, this recent bipartisan agreement on the freeze may prove worrisome for some valued federal arts and culture agencies and programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.
- Americans for the Arts Action Fund Launches 50 States 50 Days Advocacy Initiative
Americans for the Arts Action Fund is launching the 50 States 50 Days initiative to encourage local arts advocacy nationwide. The Arts Action Fund is equipping you with the tools and methods to host local events in your community to raise awareness for the arts this summer. Communities across the nation will host events from July 31–September 18, when members of Congress are likely to be at home in their district or state during the congressional recess. Register now for the free webinar on July 8 to learn more about how you can host an event this summer and advocate for your local arts community, the National Endowment for the Arts, arts education, and the Artists-Museum Partnership Act.
- Senate Cultural Caucus Now at 38 Members
06-14-2010: As we had previously announced, Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has agreed to join Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) as a co-chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus. Mikulski, who succeeds Sen. Ted Kennedy in this role on the Senate Cultural Caucus. Mikulski announced her decision to Maryland arts advocates on national Arts Advocacy Day. The Senate Cultural Caucus has grown from 30 members a year ago to 38 members currently. In addition to Sen. Mikulski, Sen. Gillabrand (D-NY) also recently joined. You can view the most recent caucus list here.
- House Arts Caucus Grows to 233 Members
06-07-2010: The House Congressional Arts Caucus, co-chaired by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Todd Platts (R-PA), has recently grown in membership to 233 members of Congress, up from 176. We believe this big jump is due in large part to the work done during congressional office visits by grassroots advocates on Arts Advocacy Day. The CAC is one of the largest voluntary caucuses in the House of Representatives, critical to organizing Arts Advocacy Day activities and serves as the first line of defense for the cultural interests when there is floor action on any given arts issue. View the updated list of members here.
- 20 Senators Sign Letter in Support of National Endowment for the Arts
05-24-2010: Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) has circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter among his fellow senators in support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This letter is an opportunity for senators to make a statement of support for the NEA, and it has been four years since the last Dear Colleague in support of the NEA was circulated in the Senate. The letter, signed by 20 senators, calls for the NEA to be funded at $180 million for FY 2011, which would be $12.5 million above the agency’s FY 2010 level.
- Obey Retirement Shakes Up House Appropriations Committee
05-17-2010: In early May, Representative David Obey (D-WI) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 41 years of service in the House of Representatives. The current chairman of the House Appropriations Committee has been a long-time champion of the arts and especially arts education throughout his career often taking to the floor of the House of Representatives to defend the creative sector and the cultural workforce. Most recently during the Recovery Act debate, he highlighted that artists were suffering through the economic downturn just like the rest of the country and needed an infusion of funds through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as a lifeline to help save jobs. With his impending retirement, the jockeying begins for the top seat on the Appropriations Committee with one of the mentioned replacements being Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman and devoted arts champion Norm Dicks (D-WA).
- "Dear Colleague" Letter Supporting NEA Funding Circulated in Senate
05-10-2010: Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is in the final stages of circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter in the Senate in supporting a funding level of $180 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the FY 2011 Interior Appropriations bill. This letter is similar to the one circulated in the House by the Congressional Arts Caucus.
- Video of "Arts Build Communities" Hearing Now Available Online
04-26-2010: On April 13, in conjunction with National Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts assembled a group of arts supporters to testify before the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, encouraging Congress to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Witnesses at the “Arts Build Communities” hearing included acclaimed actors Jeff Daniels and Kyle MacLachlan; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; U.S. Army Brigadier General Nolen V. Bivens (ret.); Terri Aldrich, Executive Director, Minot Area Council of the Arts; Charles Segars, CEO, Ovation; and Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts. View Videos of Witness Testimony
- Sen. Mikulski to Join as Co-Chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus
04-19-2010: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will join Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) as the Co-Chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus. She announced the news to arts advocates from the Maryland delegation last week during National Arts Advocacy Day, and will follow Sen. Edward Kennedy as the Democratic Co-Chair of the Caucus. The Senate Cultural Caucus currently has 36 members.
- Healthcare Reform Bill Includes Support for Small Arts Nonprofits
04-05-2010: The final healthcare package would provide a tax credit beginning in 2010 through 2013 for small businesses and 501(c) organizations with less than 25 employees and average wages below $50,000. During those three years, the bill permits a credit for all eligible small employers that provide insurance for their employees, and beginning in 2014, credits are available to employers purchasing employee coverage through health insurance exchanges. Nonprofits could take a credit in the initial period of 25 percent of the employer contribution and 35 percent in subsequent years, and apply the credit to taxes they withhold from payroll. Employees would still receive full credit for taxes withheld from their pay. For more information contact Director of Federal Affairs Narric Rome.
- Administration Releases a Blueprint for Education Reauthorization
03-15-2010: On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration released broad principles for renewing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. According to the Department of Education's press release, "The plan will ask states to ensure that their academic standards prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, and to create accountability systems that recognize student growth and school progress toward meeting that goal." Read "A Blueprint for Reform."
- Travel Promotion Act Signed into Law
03-08-2010: Last week, the Travel Promotion Act passed through the U.S. Congress and has now been sent on to the president to be signed into law. The legislation proposes a nationally coordinated campaign to promote and communicate to an audience abroad the benefits of tourism in the United States, including cultural tourism. It would also set up a nonprofit board consisting of travel-related industry representatives to advise promotional strategies. For more information on this legislative please visit the U.S. Travel Association's website, visit www.poweroftravel.org.
- Education Secretary Duncan Pressed on Arts Education Consolidation
03-01-2010: Last week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeared before the House Budget Committee to review the administration's FY 2011 budget request. Committee Chairman John Spratt (SC-5) asked the secretary about concerns that the current consolidation proposal may leave the arts "on the back burner" and squeezed by emphasis on some of the other subjects that will also be funded by this program. Secretary Duncan said that he has heard loud and clear around the country how subjects like the arts have been affected by the narrowing curriculum of the school day, and that the overall education budget has been increased and can expand on subjects like the arts. Americans for the Arts will continue to monitor this proposal and urge Congress to pause any consolidation plans until a full discussion of the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act can occur.
- Secretary Duncan to Testify on FY11 Budget Proposal
02-22-2010: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is scheduled to appear before the House Budget Committee this week to review the administration's FY 2011 budget request. Arts advocates will be watching the Duncan's testimony and looking for clarification on the proposed consolidation of the Arts in Education Programs. The president’s budget request proposes consolidating the Arts in Education program into a new, broader funding pool entitled “Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education.” The budget proposal does not indicate exactly how or how much of this funding would be available to support arts education, as the fund would also support other subjects of learning.
- President Obama Releases FY 2011 Budget
02-01-2010: President Obama today released the final details of his FY 2011 budget request to Congress which includes the nation’s cultural agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Museums and Library Services, and the Department of Education’s Arts in Education program.
In a press statement Americans for the Arts President and CEO Bob Lynch said, "The Administration’s FY 2011 budget request of $161.3 million for the National Endowment for the Arts—while just a fraction of the $6.3 billion of direct expenditures for all arts nonprofits in the U.S.—is unfortunately a $6 million decrease from what Congress appropriated for FY 2010. We now turn to Congress to continue its investment trend in providing additional appropriations for the NEA."
- First National Arts Index Measures Health and Vitality of the Arts
01-25-2010: Americans for the Arts has announced the National Arts Index at a press conference held at the National Press Club and kicking-off its 50th anniversary year. The National Arts Index is the first study designed to measure the health and vitality of the arts industries in the United States. The index is composed of 76 national-level research indicators produced by the federal government and private research organizations. To read and download the full report, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org/go/ArtsIndex.
- United States Department of Education Announces New Arts Ed Federal Grant Competition
01-18-2010: The U.S. Department of Education has announced the deadlines and guidelines for the FY 2010 Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD). The AEMDD program supports the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that are based on research and have demonstrated that they effectively—(1) integrate standards based arts education into the core elementary and middle school curriculum; (2) strengthen standards based arts instruction in these grades; and (3) improve students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts. More information and details for applying can be found online here.
- National Arts Advocacy Day Registration Now Open
01-11-2010: During these difficult economic times, it is important to let congressional leaders know that the arts are an economic engine for development and a priority for every American. On Monday, April 12, participate with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country in legislative training sessions as part of Arts Advocacy Day and attend the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. On Tuesday, April 13, attend the Congressional Arts Kick Off on Capitol Hill before you begin your day of meetings with members of Congress on important arts-related issues. Your involvement does make an impact, so register now!