A collage of images taken by Jane
Marie Butler during her artist
residency in the Anacostia
neighborhood of Washington, DC

The Issue: National Endowment for the Arts — Funding for Arts Agencies

America’s arts infrastructure, supported by a combination of government, business, foundation, and individual donors, is critical to the nation’s well-being and economic vitality.

For over 50 years, the NEA has provided strategic leadership and investment in the arts through its core programs for dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theater, visual arts, and others. Thanks to the NEA, arts activity has grown in areas of the nation that were previously underserved or not served at all, especially in rural and inner-city communities.

In a striking example of federal/state partnership, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) distributes 40 percent of its program dollars to state arts agencies, with each state devoting its own appropriated funds to support arts programs throughout the state. These grants, combined with state legislative appropriations and other dollars, are distributed widely to strengthen arts infrastructures and ensure broad access to the arts.

On May 28, the administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request, which calls for the largest requested increase in the history of the National Endowment for the Art (NEA)—a $201 million budget. This is a $33.5 million increase over the NEA's FY 2021 budget of $167.5 million. This strong show of support from the administration is much-needed and very encouraging for arts agencies, creative workers, and the many programs the federal cultural agencies support. It is also a significant departure from the previous administration which repeatedly sought to eliminate the cultural agencies in each of its four years.

National Endowment for the Arts logoFocus Foward Towards Solutions

Be a part of advocacy efforts to keep NEA funding strong to enable continued funding for the arts across America.

  1. Be sure to read the Americans for the Arts statement regarding President Biden's budget proposal for FY 2022 NEA funding. 
  2. Find more details, including talking points to advocate for NEA funding, in the NEA Issue Brief in the 2021 Congressional Arts Handbook.
  3. Read the NEA guide, How the United States Funds the Arts available on their website.
  4. Learn key Senate and House committees that impact NEA funding.


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