Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Photo looking up the stairs outside the U.S. Capitol building, a white marble structure with columns and a tall multi-tiered dome.

On June 28, 2022, the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Committee held full committee markups and recommended funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at $207 million each, $6.3 million and $3.45 million over President Biden’s request for NEH and NEA, respectively. This $27 million increase in funding from Fiscal Year 2022 enacted levels followed a monumental hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget Request for the Arts and Humanities. On June 8, 2022, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Chairwoman, D-ME) and Congressman David Joyce (Ranking Member, R-OH) led a bipartisan hearing featuring key witnesses 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). This was the first time in seven years that a hearing with the NEA and NEH took place. 

The hearing primarily focused on topics such as the equitable distribution of funds in the arts and humanities (with an emphasis on underrepresented and rural communities), the increasingly prevalent connection between arts and health, educational initiatives, historical preservation, and global representation and awareness. Chair Jackson also discussed the NEA’s plans to further their development of the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network which is managed in partnership with Americans for the Arts, a leader of the National Initiative for Arts & Health Across the Military.

In their testimonies, Chairs Jackson and Lowe shared with the committee their plans to institute new Diversity Chairs within both the NEA and the NEH with the upcoming FY23 budget. Additionally, NEA Chair Jackson is pursuing an Equity Action Plan, and NEH Chair Lowe plans to create an NEH Office of Data and Evaluation and an Office of Outreach. Both initiatives will be used to engage with historically underserved communities and procure opportunities among underrepresented groups. During the hearing, Chairwoman Pingree actively advocated for NEA and NEH funding in her opening statement

The focus now shifts to the Senate where the appropriations process has yet to begin for NEA and NEH funding.

Additional information on the markups and hearing can be viewed at the following links: 

Photo of the U.S. Capitol by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash.