Americans for the Arts Responds to House Vote on Economic Recovery Bill
Washington, DC — January 28, 2009 — Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch gave the following statement on the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan by the House of Representatives today:
“Congress marked a new milestone of federal arts support by approving $50 million in recovery funds for the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the economic stimulus bill. These additional funds will allow arts organizations—large and small—to play a vital role in reviving their local economy. The arts are a prime vehicle for job creation and a valued economic distribution mechanism. The country’s more than 4,000 local and state arts agencies have nearly 50 years of proven history as good stewards of our tax dollars and can ensure speedy disbursement to local projects, along with the excellent direct distribution track record of the NEA itself.
“We applaud the leadership of Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI), as well as support received from Speaker Pelosi, in keeping the arts alive in the legislation. While the Senate opted not to include the NEA’s $50 million in its version of the bill, we hope Congress can come to a sensible consensus as the bill is prepared for its final vote. The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities, and it is fiscally sound policy to invest in our nation's arts infrastructure.”
NEA funds, on average, leverage $7 in additional support through local, state and private donations, for every one dollar in federal support. The $50 million in economic stimulus will leverage $350 million of investment in the nonprofit arts, which will help prevent 14,422 jobs from being lost.
The overall House plan, which passed 244 to 188, provides additional opportunities throughout other parts of the federal government that could also help the nonprofit arts sector and individual artists. Many of these other opportunities correspond closely with Americans for the Arts’ Recommendations for Economic Recovery & the Arts to help nonprofit and governmental arts groups as well as individual artists during this economic downturn.
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Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, it has a record of 49 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.