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New NHA Memo to Members

posted by Linda Downs


The executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on October 25, 2013.

New NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

I am writing with the first edition of NHA’s new Memo to Members. Please click here for:

  • a legislative update that includes a discussion of Senator Sessions’ recent letter to Acting NEH Chair Carole Watson;
  • follow-up to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Science’s The Heart of the Matter;
  • resources for advocates;
  • studies, reports, and initiatives pertaining to the humanities;
  • a compendium of humanities news articles and essays;
  • federal grant opportunities; and
  • upcoming humanities policy and advocacy events.

We hope that this monthly memo will provide you with tools to aid your advocacy efforts and help you and your organization stay abreast of policy and advocacy news. If you have information to to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at emosley@nhalliance.org.

Click here to download the briefing in pdf.



BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on October 1, 2013.

BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

October is National Arts and Humanities Month and how does the federal government celebrate? By closing the doors of federally funded museums, parks, zoos and delaying the distribution of NEA grants that enrich our communities.

Today is only a snapshot of what the 49% cut to the NEA could mean for our communities. As arts advocates, we cannot stand by and let this happen! In response, the Arts Action Fund is extending our petition to deliver even more names to Congress. This means we need YOU to take a stand and tell Congress that these drastic cuts are unacceptable.

Will you add your name to our petition?

You have until October 31st to sign this petition and tell your friends to sign as well. The Arts Action Fund has a goal of adding 10,000 new signers by the end of this month to keep the pressure mounting on Congress to not only oppose the 49% cut, but make sure it gets the funding it deserves for 2014.

Please consider adding your name now. We need you!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director



In Less Than 24 Hours…

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on September 10, 2013.

In Less Than 24 Hours…

Over 17,000 advocates signed our online petition for Congress to oppose the 49% cut to the NEA!

Now that Congress has returned from recess to resume debates over these budget cuts, we need to increase our number of petition signers to have an even bigger impact before the proposed cuts hit the House and Senate floors.

Will you lend your voice to the 15,000 who have already signed?

Today also kicks-off National Arts in Education Week. Did you know that over 18 million kids in every single state benefitted from the ripple effect of the NEA’s investment last year alone? These grants create a lasting impact by inspiring kids across the country, regardless of socio-economic status, to think of music and art as relevant to their own lives.

Please sign the petition and ensure all kids have access to arts education!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Have you had a chance to view the #BeTheARTbeat Crowd-Sourced video? See why others are inspired to be a part of the Arts Action Fund.



Major NEA Cut Frozen until Fall

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on August 1, 2013.

Major NEA Cut Frozen until Fall

Yesterday the US House Appropriations Committee began consideration of legislation that would devastate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with a 49 percent cut to its budget. An amendment to restore the funding to the NEA was defeated along a party-line vote of 19–27. With rising tempers over this cut and many others, the committee has now suspended its consideration until mid-September.

This legislation began its journey as a subcommittee proposal last week and the full committee is the middle step before it goes to the House floor for final consideration. Arts advocates are outraged and have sent more than 22,000 messages to Capitol Hill this past week calling for a rejection of these cuts.

If you have two minutes, please contact your member of Congress, or you can use our powerful media alert tool to send a Letter to the Editor to your local newspapers calling for Congress to reject this cut.

As stated in yesterday’s committee meeting by members of Congress from both parties, the cuts to our cultural resources are misguided and disproportionate. Not only will they impact the NEA, but the millions of Americans working in the creative industries that are boosted by the strategic grants made by the NEA.

  • Senior Democratic appropriator Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) described the bill as the “worst bill considered during this appropriations cycle”
  • Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) said, “We’d be better off passing a blank piece of paper”
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) noted how many communities in her state have been revitalized because of NEA support and how critical it is

The Road Ahead

As members of Congress head back to their home districts shortly for a five-week recess period, the appropriations process will be put on hold until their return on September 9. Americans for the Arts will continue to build our advocacy efforts, looking ahead to later in the fall when the committee will try again to complete its work and move consideration of the bill to the House floor, where amendments to restore funding, and unfortunately reduce funding even further, could be offered.

The steps beyond that are unclear as the appropriations process this year appears to be heading toward a dysfunctional ending. As the Senate and the House have vastly different appropriations levels on a variety of bills, it is unlikely that they will find a compromise position. The most likely outcome would be a “continuing resolution” that would maintain the current NEA funding level into the next fiscal year.

If you have two minutes, please contact your member of Congress, or send a Letter to the Editor to your local newspapers calling for Congress to reject this cut. Americans for the Arts has further details and will be providing updates on our ARTSblog here.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, you can play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.




The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on August 1, 2013.

Speak Up Now! 49 Percent Cut to the NEH Stalled in the House

By acting now, you can help to ensure that this devastating cut doesn’t move beyond the committee room.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee considered a 49 percent ($71 million) cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). After a lengthy debate, the committee adjourned for the August recess without acting on the proposal but with the intent to take it up again in September. We must use this recess to make our voices heard in order prevent these devastating cuts from being enacted. Please send messages to your elected officials today by clicking this link.

If you sent a message last week, please send this new message to both your Senators and Representatives. Click here to send a message today.

This battle will continue into the fall, as this bill moves toward a vote of the full House of Representatives and as the Senate considers its own spending bills. During this period it is important that your elected officials hear from you and your friends and colleagues. Click here to learn about six steps that you can take to oppose these cuts and preserve the NEH during this time. Please take these steps and circulate them widely.

This drastic cut would end programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, public programming, and research and result in positive impacts on every community in the country. Programs supported by the NEH teach essential skills and habits including reading, writing, critical thinking, and effective communication that are crucial for ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn and become a productive member of society. Further, NEH’s programs strengthen communities by promoting understanding of our common ideals, enduring civic values, and shared cultural heritage.

Please share this message with your friends.

Click here to download “Six Steps to Oppose cuts to NEH.”

The NEH desperately needs your help.

Click here to send a message to your elected officials.



House Subcommittee Cuts the NEA by 49 Percent

posted by Linda Downs


Americans for the Arts sent the following email on July 23, 2013.

House Subcommittee Cuts the NEA by 49 Percent

Today, the US House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved its initial FY 2014 funding legislation, which includes a proposed cut of $71 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This would bring funding of the NEA down to $75 million, a level not seen since 1974!

Please take two minutes to send a customizable message to your members of Congress rejecting these dramatic cuts to NEA funding.

While the subcommittee bill includes a 20 percent reduction in total spending as a part of the House budget plan, the proposed cuts of 49 percent to the NEA are significantly disproportionate. The arts community recognizes the challenges our elected leaders face in prioritizing federal resources, but funding for the NEA has already been cut by more than $29 million over the past three years. These disproportionate cuts recall the dramatic decline of federal funding for the arts in the early 90s, from which the agency has still not recovered.

In her statement during today’s markup, senior appropriator Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said these cuts “harken back to a time when a misguided war on the arts and culture ignored the educational and cultural benefits they provide our communities.”

Final FY 2013 (includes 5 percent sequester cut)

National Endowment for the Arts: $138.4 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $138.4 million

FY 2014 President’s Request

National Endowment for the Arts: $154.466 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $154.466 million

FY 2014 House Subcommittee Proposal

National Endowment for the Arts: $75 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $75 million

This is just the first step in an annual appropriations process, which this year appears to be heading toward a dysfunctional ending. It is expected that the full House Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation next week; however, as the Senate and the House have vastly different appropriations levels, it remains unclear whether this bill will reach the House floor or a final version will ever be completed with the Senate. A message from you now registering your concerns with your member of Congress would be well-timed to arrive prior to any possible next step in the appropriations process.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, you can play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.




The League of American Orchestras has circulated a statement that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will be using in response to press inquiries.

Statement on the House Appropriations Subcommittee Draft FY2014 Spending Bill for the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

If enacted, the FY2014 budget proposed for the National Endowment for the Arts in the draft appropriations bill would severely hamper the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission of investing in arts organizations throughout all 50 states.

As the President, Congress, and the American people continue to be focused on the country’s economy, it is important to note that a dollar invested by the NEA is matched by $9 of additional investment and generates $26 in economic activity.

Last year, the NEA invested nearly $116 million through more than 2,200 grants in communities of all sizes. In turn, these nonprofit arts organizations had direct expenditures of $31.2 billion that helped support the 5.7 million arts-related jobs and 2 million working artists in this country.

The President’s FY2014 budget request recognizes the importance of this investment and lays out a strong case for funding the NEA at $154.5 million, which the full House and the Senate will review as the budget process continues.




The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on July 22, 2013.

Oppose devastating cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released its FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill this morning with a 49 percent ($71 million) cut for the National Endowment for the Humanities. If enacted, this funding level would devastate an agency that has already been reduced by 19 percent since 2010.

This drastic cut would end programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, public programming, and research, and result in positive impacts on every community in the country. Programs supported by the NEH teach essential skills and habits including reading, writing, critical thinking, and effective communication that are crucial for ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn and become a productive member of society. Further, NEH’s programs strengthen communities by promoting understanding of our common ideals, enduring civic values, and shared cultural heritage.

Click here to send a message today to urge your Representative to vote against these devastating cuts.

Please share this message with your friends.

The NEH desperately needs your help.




The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on July 19, 2013.

Action Alert: Act Now to Preserve Critical Humanities Funding

Over the last three years the budget of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), an agency critical to preserving America’s documentary heritage, has been cut from $13 million to just $4.75 million. Last week, the House of Representatives proposed another 36 percent reduction that threatens to further erode this small agency’s capacity to preserve endangered collections and provide access to our shared cultural heritage. Your voice can help to ensure that the Senate acts to prevent this draconian cut.

The Senate will begin voting on NHPRC funding on Tuesday, July 23, so your senators must hear from as many of their constituents as possible before that date in order to prevent this reduction.

To preserve NHPRC funding:

1) Click the link below to send a message urging your senators to provide full funding to the National Historical Publications and Records Administration. We have provided a template letter that you may customize if you choose, so it is quick and easy.

2) Share this message with your friends.

More information on NHPRC:
The National Historical Publications and Records Administration (NHPRC) provides critical support for preservation of at-risk collections in communities around the country. Its grants leverage state, local, institutional, foundation, and other private funding by requiring 50 percent cost sharing—i.e. for every federal dollar invested, another dollar is spent from a non-federal source. NHPRC also supports publications projects of national significance such as the Papers of Abraham Lincoln and the Papers of George Washington. Just this year, it launched Founders Online, an unprecedented resource that provides online access to more than 100,000 documents of the founding generation.

It is critical that you act now to ensure that efforts to preserve and provide public access to national treasures can continue. Once these materials are lost, they are lost forever.

Click this link to send a message:
http://cqrcengage.com/nhalliance/app/write-a-letter?3&engagementId=13034




The following document, called “Promoting Creativity and Public Access to the Arts,” contains talking points to help American citizens to advocate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

National Endowment for the Arts: Promoting Creativity and Public Access to the Arts

We urge Congress to support a budget of $155 million for the NEA in the fiscal year 2014 (FY 2014) Interior Appropriations bill to preserve citizen access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

NEA Annual Appropriations, FY 1992 to present (in millions of dollars)

 

FY

’92

’93

’94

’95

’96/’97

’98/’99

’00

’01

’02

’03

’04

’05

’06/’07

’08

’09

’10

’11

’12

’13

$

176

174.5

170.2

162.3

99.5

98

97.6

104.8

115.2

115.7

121

121.3

124.4

144.7

155

167.5

155

146

138.4*

* FY13 reflects a 5 percent cut mandated by sequestration, applied to the CR budget from FY12. The figures above are not adjusted for inflation. (Source: NEA)

Talking Points

The NEA budget has been reduced in previous years to a level that threatens the agency’s ability to make grants in every congressional district.

  • Due to recent congressional budget cuts, the NEA had to decrease funding to state arts agencies and cut more than 175 direct grants to arts organizations
  • Restoring the NEA to $155 million will help maintain grant support to arts organizations and partnerships in communities across the country

The NEA contributes to the economic growth and development of communities nationwide.

  • The arts put people to work. More than 905,000 US businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, employing 3.35 million people: visual artists, performing artists, managers, marketers, technicians, teachers, designers, carpenters, and a variety of other trades and professions—jobs that pay mortgages and send children to college. Artists are a larger workforce group than the legal profession, medical doctors, or agricultural workers. (Sources: Americans for the Arts, Creative Industries, 2012; NEA, Artists in the Workforce, 2008)
  • The arts are a business magnet. A strong arts sector stimulates business activity, attracting companies that want to offer employees and clients a creative climate and a community with high amenity value. The arts are a successful strategy for revitalizing rural areas and inner cities. Arts organizations purchase goods and services that help local merchants thrive. Arts organizations spend money—more than $61 billion—on salaries, local products, and professional and skilled trade services that boost local economies. (Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity IV (AEPIV) study, 2012). In 2013, the American creative sector will be measured by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The BEA and NEA will develop an “Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account,” which will identify and calculate the arts and culture sector’s contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP)
  • The arts help communities prosper in a diversified twenty-first-century economy. Nonprofit arts organizations, along with creative enterprises, contribute to state and local economies, generating employment and tax revenues and providing goods and services demanded by the public. The nonprofit arts industry generates $135.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 4.13 million full-time equivalent jobs in the arts and related industries, and returns $9.59 billion in federal income taxes. (Source: AEPIV study)
  • The arts attract tourism revenue. Cultural tourism accounts for 78 percent of US travelers—some 118 million tourists—who include arts and heritage in their trips each year. They stay longer and spend 36 percent more money than other kinds of travelers do, contributing more than $192 billion annually to the US economy. (Source: US Cultural and Heritage Tourism Marketing Council, US Department of Commerce, Cultural and Heritage Traveler Research, 2009)
  • Federal funding for the arts leverages private funding. The NEA requires at least a one-to-one match of federal funds from all grant recipients—a match far exceeded by most grantees. On average, each NEA grant leverages at least $8 from other state, local, and private sources. Private support cannot match the leveraging role of government cultural funding

Talking Points (Continued)

The NEA improves access to the arts; supports artistic excellence; and fosters lifelong learning in the arts through grants, partnerships, research, and national initiatives.

  • NEA funds spread across the country and expand arts access. Every US congressional district benefits from an NEA grant, leveraging additional support from a diverse range of private sources to combine funding from government, business, foundation, and individual donors. The NEA awarded more than 2,200 grants in 2012, totaling more than $108 million in appropriated funds. A listing of these grants is online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/go/NEAgrants
  • State arts agencies extend the reach of federal arts dollars. Forty percent of all NEA program funds—approximately $46 million in FY 2013—are regranted through state arts agencies. In partnership with the NEA, state arts agencies awarded more than 22,000 grants to organizations, schools, and artists in 5,000 communities across the US (Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Summary Report: 2011 Funding and Grant Making, 2011)
  • NEA grants support a range of educational projects. Arts education in school and participation in arts lessons are the most significant predictors of arts participation later in life. The NEA funds school- and community-based programs that help children and youth acquire knowledge and skills in the arts. The NEA also supports educational programs for adults, collaborations between state arts agencies and state education agencies, and partnerships between arts institutions and K–12 and college/university educators. (Source: NEA, Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation, 2011)
  • Rural and underserved communities benefit from the Challenge America Fast-Track category, which offers support to small and midsized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. The Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra in Lawton, Oklahoma, for instance, received funding for an original work paying tribute to Native American themes in a concert that drew 250 Native American guests from the surrounding tribal nations
  • The NEA has supported military families by partnering with Blue Star Families to present Blue Star Museums, offering free admission to active-duty military and their families, and a similar effort to launch Blue Star Theatres. Other NEA programs for the military have included Operation Homecoming; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.
  • When public arts funding is lost, private dollars do not reliably pick up the slack. Tough economic conditions mean less revenue from public, private, and corporate sources. Loss of support to arts organizations across the country during the recent recession has meant cuts in administrative costs and cuts to programs. Programs for lower‐income populations and at‐risk children are typically hit hard because a larger majority of their funding comes from public sources

Background

America’s arts infrastructure, supported by a combination of government, business, foundation, and individual donors, is critical to the nation’s well-being and economic vitality. In a striking example of federal/state partnership, the NEA distributes 40 percent of its program dollars to state arts agencies, with each state devoting its own appropriated funds to support arts programs throughout the state. This partnership ensures that each state has a stable source of arts funding and policy. These grants, combined with state legislative appropriations and other dollars, are distributed widely to strengthen arts infrastructures and ensure broad access to the arts.

For close to fifty years, the NEA has provided strategic leadership and investment in the arts through its core programs, including those for dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theater, visual arts, and other programs. Among the proudest accomplishments of the NEA is the growth of arts activity in areas of the nation that were previously underserved or not served at all, especially in rural and inner-city communities. Americans can now see professional productions and exhibitions of high quality in their own hometowns.

The FY 2013 NEA appropriation reflects a 5 percent cut mandated by sequestration, applied to the continuing resolution budget allocation of $146 million from FY 2012, despite the president requesting an increase to $154.3 million and the Senate Appropriations Committee proposing an equal amount. The administration’s FY 2014 budget proposes $154.466 million for the NEA, which would nearly restore the agency to FY 2011 funding levels and would provide support to a healthy nonprofit arts sector in communities nationwide. Current funding amounts to just 47 cents per capita, as compared to 70 cents per capita in 1992.




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