College Art Association

CAA News Today

Action Alert

posted by May 16, 2006

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider an Interior Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2007 on Thursday, May 18. The Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which marked up the bill on May 4, recommends level funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at $142 million and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $124 million. These amounts remained in the bill through the full committee mark-up.

When the bill comes to the House floor, CAA expects the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Humanities Caucus and the Congressional Arts Caucus to introduce an amendment to increase funding for the NEH and NEA by $10 to $15 million, evenly divided between the two endowments. The Congressional Arts Caucus has successfully offered a similar amendment for the past six years.

Action Needed

We ask that you call, e-mail, or fax your representative, urging him or her to vote in favor of this amendment when the bill comes to the floor. Let your elected official know that the NEA and NEH make a difference in your state! To find your member of Congress, please visit Capwiz.

Sample Letter

[DATE]

The Honorable [FULL NAME]
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative [LAST NAME]:

Public encouragement and financial assistance for arts and humanities programs are very much in the hearts and minds of the citizens of this country. I am writing you today to ask you to support an expected amendment asking for an increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) when the House votes on the fiscal year 2007 Interior Appropriations bill, scheduled for consideration on May 18.

As you know, with a relatively small investment from Congress, the NEH and NEA provide access to high-quality educational programs and resources that reach millions of Americans each year. To this end, it is critical that we continue to strengthen funding for the arts and for scholarly research through increased appropriations for the NEH and NEA.

Thank you for your consideration of my request, and for your support of arts funding.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR ORGANIZATION OR MEMBER OF CAA]

CAA has sent a letter protesting the closing of the Brooklyn College MFA exhibition at the Brooklyn War Memorial in New York.

Julius Spiegel
Brooklyn Borough Commissioner
NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Litchfield Villa
Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Dear Borough Commissioner Spiegel:

On behalf of the College Art Association (CAA), the largest and most comprehensive professional organization for art historians and visual artists in the United States, I am writing to express concern about the closing of the Brooklyn College students’ annual Master of Fine Arts (MFA) thesis show at the Brooklyn War Memorial on May 4, 2006. I understand that the exhibition was closed after city official found some works of art to be objectionable and not suitable for families.

As an organization that supports artists’ and scholars’ right to free expression and opposes limits on intellectual inquiry, we follow censorship-related complaints from around the country and can attest to the fact that almost any work of art can be construed as being religious, political, or sexual in nature. We have recorded numerous complaints against highly regarded, often classical, works of art that have been couched in just such language. Under this standard, New York City would be deprived of a large number of the public artworks that have contributed to the vibrant culture of the city. Although many of the works included in the MFA show may be seen as challenging or controversial, the public must be given an opportunity to choose whether or not to attend, to view the exhibition unimpeded, and to form its own opinion.

With more than 13,000 members, and with 20 percent of our membership living and working in New York State, the College Art Association promotes the highest levels of creativity, intellectual inquiry, and technical skill in the practice and teaching of the visual arts, as well as the highest standards of scholarship, connoisseurship, and teaching in the history and criticism of art.

Sincerely,
Michael Fahlund
Acting Executive Director
College Art Association