Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch offered this statement in reaction to last night’s proposal by Congress to fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at $152.8 million each:
“This funding increase of $3 million for both the NEA and NEH to the final FY 2018 budget is in stark contrast to a year ago, when the Endowments were facing a proposed termination by President Trump. I am very pleased that members of Congress have decided to invest more funding into the arts—this support from both parties is a testament that the arts are bipartisan. In fact, in the budget plan released last night, none of our nation’s arts and cultural agencies incurred a budget cut. All of them received funding increases for this year. In some ways, this win is a fitting tribute to the longtime leadership of Representative Louise Slaughter, the co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, who passed away recently and was a fierce champion of the arts and arts education for decades.
“This increase could not have happened without the unified, tireless, persistent work of the arts community and grassroots advocates nationwide. From hundreds of thousands of calls and emails from every state and Congressional district, to op-eds and ads placed in local newspapers across the country, to office visits on Capitol Hill, strong activism was ever present in making a case for increased funds.
“The work of the NEA provides greater access to the arts for all, and makes positive impacts on citizens, families, communities, schools, and organizations across the country. NEA grant money is distributed to all 50 states, and 65 percent of NEA grants goes to small and medium-sized organizations. More, over 40 percent of NEA-supported efforts are in high-poverty neighborhoods. Communicating this important work has led to the third consecutive year of funding increases for the NEA. It is also the second time in a row that a Republican-led Congress has reversed a request from President Trump to cut our federal cultural agencies’ funding.
“While the almost $153 million budgets for the NEA and NEH and overall increases to our nation’s arts and cultural agencies for FY 2018 is welcomed news, we must continue in a unified effort to ensure that the latest termination proposal from the Trump Administration for FY 2019 is again defeated this coming year.”
For more information on how to make the case for the arts and arts education, visit the Americans for the Arts’ Arts Mobilization Center