NASAA Notes: June 2024

June 7, 2024

NASAA Testimony before Congress on NEA Funding

On May 9, I submitted testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies. This subcommittee is responsible for the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts. I’d like to share my testimony with you.


Prepared Testimony to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, U.S. House of Representatives

Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Pingree and esteemed members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this testimony in support of federal appropriations for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the fiscal year 2025 appropriations bill. My name is Pam Breaux, and I am honored to serve as president and chief executive officer of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), representing and advocating for the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies.

Today, I stand before you to express our profound appreciation for your ongoing support of the National Endowment for the Arts and to urge the Committee to consider funding it at $210.1 million in FY2025. This increased allocation, in line with the President’s request, would enable the NEA to continue its vital mission of supporting arts and creativity to foster an environment where arts participation and practice benefits everyone across the United States.

In recent years, the Subcommittee has demonstrated a commendable commitment to the arts by increasing funding for the NEA. We are sincerely grateful for this bipartisan effort, which underscores the importance of the arts in our communities and our nation as a whole.

As you deliberate on the fiscal year 2025 appropriations bill, I urge you to prioritize the National Endowment for the Arts once again, recognizing its significant impact on communities nationwide. The NEA’s unique federal-state partnership ensures that arts funding reaches every corner of our country, empowering states and regions to address their unique priorities and serving far more constituents than federal funds alone can reach. Unique among federal agencies, the Endowment funds state plans; these plans are developed by state arts agencies in response to citizens, communities, arts organizations, legislatures and governors. This makes the federal-state arts investment incredibly responsive and relevant to citizens in every state and jurisdiction.

In FY2024, the NEA distributed 40% of its grants funds to state, jurisdictional and regional arts agencies, amounting to $65 million. State arts agencies used their share of NEA funds, combined with funds from state legislatures, to support almost 23,000 grants to arts organizations, civic groups and schools in over 4,800 communities across the nation. Twenty-two percent of state arts agency grant awards went to nonmetropolitan areas, supporting programs that strengthen the civic and economic sustainability of rural America. Thirty percent of state arts agency grant dollars went to arts education, fostering student success in and out of school and building the critical thinking, creativity and communications skills needed to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive workforce. Congress’s continued support of the 40% formula is essential to state arts agencies, boosting their ability to ensure that the arts benefit all communities, regardless of wealth or geography.

Federal funding for arts and creativity is a high return investment in cities, towns and rural communities nationwide. It improves the lives of all Americans, equips an innovative workforce and keeps us competitive globally. It is a great example of government done right, as it fuels public-private partnerships, leverages $9 in additional funds for every federal dollar invested and puts tax dollars and decision-making authority into the hands of citizens.

New research shows that the arts are a highly effective economic investment that drives state economies, regardless of how other economic sectors perform. The arts also strengthen the economy following periods of acute economic distress. Research findings reveal that the arts are an agile and resilient sector with the capacity to ignite job growth, reduce economic risk through diversification, stimulate commerce and attract tourism. As we continue to work toward arts sector recovery and stability (particularly germane for the performing arts), that work not only benefits the arts industry, but it also positions the arts to benefit the broader economy. Strengthening the arts provides opportunities for the arts to help strengthen the nation.

NASAA and states applaud the NEA’s many services to the country, including its leadership in developing beneficial programs for communities, military personnel, veterans, students and many others. NASAA and state arts agencies proudly partner with the NEA and work collaboratively and in solidarity to benefit all communities across the country. Together we accomplish what neither side can achieve alone.

I extend our sincere appreciation for Congress’s steadfast support of the National Endowment for the Arts and federal funding for the arts. As we move forward, NASAA remains committed to serving as a resource to this Committee and to advancing our shared goal of promoting the arts for the betterment of our society. Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony.

Pam Breaux
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

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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