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Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) Re-Introduces Advancing Equity Through Arts And Humanities Act in 118th Congress
On Thursday, May 11, 2023, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) re-introduced the Equity Through the Arts and Humanities Act (H.R. 3239). The legislation would create a grant program through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for nonprofit and public entities, including faith-based and community organizations, that serve and are led by people of color.
During last year’s Strategic Realignment Process, Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund staff heard from stakeholders that advocacy is both a key strength and among their top priorities. Staff also heard that how we do our work is as important as what we do.
Americans for the Arts submitted testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee calling for “…federal funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at no less than $211 million each for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024.” Funding at no less than this amount would match or exceed what the Biden Administration proposed in their FY24 budget request released earlier this month.
The Charitable Act would expand and extend the expired non-itemized deduction for charitable giving, and would once again provide and enhance a tax incentive for greater philanthropy toward arts and culture, among other sectors. Americans for the Arts and Americans for the Arts Action Fund have endorsed this important piece of legislation.
In 2022, Congress passed a bill called the ARTS (Artistic Recognition for Talented Students) Act, which waives U.S. Copyright Office copyright registration fees for student Congressional Arts Competition winners.
On December 23, 2022, the United States Congress passed, and President Biden enacted, an end-of-year omnibus package that funds the government for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) and has provisions that support the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will be funded each at $207 million, a $27 million increase from last year.
On October 14, 2022, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) introduced the Capital, Repairs, and Employment for Art Talent to Improve Visibility Everywhere (CREATIVE) Act. The CREATIVE Act would expand access to capital for facilities by allowing local arts agencies, museums, and 501c3s to receive grants of up to $5 million to construct and acquire new facilities, maintain and improve existing facilities, or hire staff or produce art at existing facilities.
Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) passed at $207 million each, $6.3 million and $3.45 million over President Biden’s requests. The bipartisan hearing on June 8—the first in seven years with the NEA and NEH—included testimony from Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson (13th Chair, NEA), Ms. Shelly Lowe (12th Chair, NEH), Ms. Kaywin Feldman (Director, National Gallery of Art), and Mr. Lonnie G. Bunch III (Secretary, Smithsonian Institution).
In April and May, two congressional “Dear Colleague” letters were finalized as statements of support for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Arts leaders have requested “at least” $204 million in funding for the NEA and NEH in Fiscal Year 2023.
On Thursday, April 28, 2022, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) introduced the Equity Through the Arts and Humanities Act (H.R. 7627), which would create a grant program to support arts and humanities projects that work to dismantle systemic racism through the arts and humanities.