March 2, 2020
President Trump Calls for Closure of National Endowment for the Arts
Last month President Trump, for the fourth time in his presidency, called for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. Although this proposal was anticipated, it is nonetheless disappointing and serious. While we have been successful in thwarting these proposals in the past—thanks to the robust advocacy of our members and partner organizations, working closely with our champions in Congress—there is no question that this year presents new challenges. We must be vigilant to make certain that no one takes the threat of elimination lightly.
Fortunately, support for the National Endowment for the Arts in Congress seems higher than ever. Shortly before the President’s proposal was released, NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux testified before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in support of the Arts Endowment’s fiscal year 2021 budget. During that hearing, not only did members on both sides of the aisle react favorably to funding the agency at $170 million (the mutually agreed upon request among arts service organizations), but Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) said legislation should be considered to double the Endowment’s budget over a period of time.
The next step in the process should happen soon, as the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to release its draft budget for the Endowment within the next few weeks. When it does, NASAA will be in touch with guidance on how best to engage in support of the agency.
In the meantime, I would encourage each of you to identify an exciting program or project currently being undertaken at your state arts agency that can serve as a case study for how the National Endowment for the Arts could better serve your community with an increase in funding. Congress continues to be under considerable pressure to reduce federal spending, so it is critically important that we are able to support our request for an increase in funding with tangible examples of the agency’s effectiveness. Send your examples—or any questions you may have—to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at 202-540-9162.
In this Issue
From the President and CEO
State to State
- Virgin Islands: Made in the USVI Pop-Up Store
- California: Innovations + Intersections
- Virginia: Leveraging Local Investment
The Research Digest
Announcements and Resources
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