Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch offered this statement in response to today’s action by the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, which proposed funding of $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities in FY2018:
I am pleased to see this subcommittee propose a figure in stark contrast to President Trump’s calls for full termination. This action endorses the existence for a strong public arts agency, and I thank the strong leadership of Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D-MN).
The House subcommittee action today is the first authoritative step from Congress in this year’s funding cycle. Although I am disappointed to see the proposed figure be reduced from the current FY2017 budget by $5 million to $145 million, I hope that the full House Appropriations Committee, and the expected consideration from the U.S. Senate, will support an increase to $155 million, which was requested by a record number of bipartisan members of Congress this year.
The evidence of the value of and demand for the arts in America actually calls for an increase in the federal arts appropriations, and with arts advocates from all across the United States, Americans for the Arts will continue to make the case for our government to invest in the arts in America.
As arts advocates know, Congress considers their own budget priorities—and usually without much regard to the administration's request, and this year is proving no different.
Since the Administration announced it 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 all around the country. Our combined outreach to these elected officials is making a difference.
Our grassroots advocacy this year has seen an all-time high with over 170,000 messages sent to Congress. With 88 national service organizations and their members, arts advocates set a new record of participation during the annual Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.
Working with our state partners, we’ve run ads in newspapers across the country in key districts whose member of Congress serves on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, especially its smaller Interior Subcommittee that is responsible for making the first U.S. House proposal for funding levels for the NEA. We also ran ads in states whose U.S. Senators serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and tied these to op-ed columns published in newspapers across the country written by Americans for the Arts members to show why the arts and the NEA are vital to their local communities. So far, over 60 have been published in 37 states. Please visit our Arts Mobilization page to see the ads and op-eds.
To bolster these efforts with the latest data, we released our Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study at our June convention 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.
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 Louise Slaughter and Leonard Lance, and supporters on the subcommittee under the leadership of Chairman Ken Calvert and Ranking Member Betty McCollum, and the work of Americans for the Arts Action Fund in building a pro-arts majority in the U.S. Congress.
Source: Americans for the Arts, 2017