NASAA Notes: April 2021

April 6, 2021

It's Arts Advocacy Season: Take Action

This week marks an important event in our advocacy calendar, as supporters from around the country meet, this year virtually, for the National Arts Action Summit. In a normal year, this event marks the kickoff of the annual appropriations season, where NASAA and other arts organizations work together to advance policies that support the arts. It is always so much fun to connect with many of you who make the trip to D.C. each year, and I am sorry we will miss out on the opportunity to reconnect.

While the work of the summit, and advocacy generally, continues to be limited to online and phone engagement, there is nevertheless exciting work in front of us. First, we are all anxiously awaiting the release of President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2022. The first such document for any new administration is especially important, as it sends a signal to Congress and advocates about the fiscal priorities for the next four years. It is certainly our hope that President Biden will urge Congress to support a robust funding increase for the National Endowment for the Arts. We appreciate the hard work that has been undertaken by Congress on a bipartisan basis to increase the agency’s funding level, especially over the past four years, when President Trump had called for its elimination.

Because the President’s FY2022 figure has not been announced yet, NASAA and other national arts service organizations made the decision, in consultation with our champions in Congress, to hold off on a specific dollar request until the document is made public. We understand that doing so puts you in a rather awkward position as you meet with members of Congress and staff, all of whom are expecting a specific ask. We have heard that the President’s proposal will be made public either later this month or in early May, but if you are meeting with your congressional delegation before then, we’d propose you raise the following points:

  1. Thank the member for recognizing the impact COVID-19 has had on artists and arts organizations, and for providing both an increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts in the FY2021 appropriations bill and emergency funding for the agency throughout the pandemic.
  2. Encourage the member to support a “significant” increase in funding for the Arts Endowment this year while reiterating support for the federal-state partnership, which directs 40% of the Endowment’s grant funding to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.
  3. Use the opportunity to update staff on any new developments or initiatives within your agency. These reports are always valued by staff—but especially during times of economic distress, when Congress is weighing a number of important priorities, this information can help bolster the Endowment.

I expect Congress to begin working in earnest on the FY2022 appropriations bill by the end of the month, so if you have the time do so, please reach out to your member of Congress to let them know that you are hopeful that they will continue to support the Endowment and vital arts programs. I know that this direct engagement is the biggest reason for our success in recent years, and will mean a great deal moving forward.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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