image collage
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.

In March, President Trump released a budget for FY2018, and this proposed budget shows an elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Corporation for National and Community Services (Americorps), among other federal agencies. This is just one step in the budget process through October of 2017.  This proposal is a blueprint and will be considered by Congress, but like all proposals, Congress will be considering their own budget priorities—and likely without much regard to the administration’s request.  Throughout this budgeting process, there are many points where Americans for the Arts, with arts advocates and partners from across the country, will be united in making sure Congress understands the impact of the arts in their states and districts.

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 the proposed elimination of the NEA.  
  2. Find more details, including talking points to advocate for NEA funding, in the NEA Issue Brief in the 2017 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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