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Arts in DC: FYI


by Jerome Weeks 23 Sep 2008

BackStage reports: Support for the arts in the House of Representatives increased appreciably during the soon-to-conclude legislative session, according to Americans for the Arts, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, which released its Congressional Arts Report Card Sept. 22. There were 181 members of Congress receiving a grade of A or higher, up from 179 in […]

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BackStage reports:

Support for the arts in the House of Representatives increased appreciably during the soon-to-conclude legislative session, according to Americans for the Arts, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, which released its Congressional Arts Report Card Sept. 22.

There were 181 members of Congress receiving a grade of A or higher, up from 179 in the session that concluded in ’06. More significantly, funding for the National Endowment for the Arts was increased by $20 million for the 2008 fiscal year, its largest one-year increase in almost 30 years.

However, according to the organization, the current NEA budget of $144.7 million has half the purchasing power of its previous high: $176 million in 1992. And the size of the Congressional Arts Caucus dropped as well, from 224 in 2006 to 212 in 2008.

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  • Rawlins Gilliland

    The NEA is to the arts what NPR/PBS is to the airways; the gold standard. The NEA makes a huge difference in American life and lives, and in my case, it changed the trajectory of my life when I recieved an early matching grant as Master Poet. God bless America!

    The message here? Support the arts, prompt your congressional members to not see the NEA as otherwise unaffordable fluff. Arts in the schools make a bigger difference than one might suspect as I learned when I returned to the town of my NEA residency, where I spent two years going into schools conducting workshops. When decades later, I met the now grown adults who were then kids………I recognized the power of creative thought and personal expression. The impact of story-telling. The arts are to young minds what vacations are to adults; escapes from the mundane, a passport to the undiscovered.