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The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors approved the addition of CAA’s name to a letter protesting the proposed budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts. Thomas L. Birch, legislative counsel for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, spearheaded the initiative and sent the missive to the US House of Representatives today.

Letter to US House of Representatives Protesting Further NEA Budget Cuts

July 25, 2011

US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative,

As the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill comes to the floor for consideration by the full House, we write to urge you to prevent further cuts to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The direct federal investment in the artistic capacity of our nation supports thousands of jobs, strengthens communities, improves lifelong learning, and boosts this country’s international competitive advantage.

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 almost 2,400 grants in those districts in FY10. The NEA has provided strategic leadership and investment in the arts for more than forty years. Americans can now see professional productions and exhibitions of high quality in their own hometowns. 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.

Nationally, there are 668,267 businesses in the United States involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 2.9 million people including visual artists, performing artists, managers, marketers, technicians, teachers, designers, carpenters, and workers in a wide variety of trades and professions. By direct grants and through allocations to each state, NEA dollars are distributed widely to strengthen the arts infrastructure and ensure broad access to the arts for communities across the country.

The NEA funds school-based and community-based programs that help children and youth acquire knowledge and understanding of, 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 educators.

We understand fully the shared sacrifice that we all must make in order to help get our nation’s fiscal house in order. But funding for the National Endowment for the Arts was already reduced by $12.5 million in FY11, and the FY12 Interior bill currently includes an additional $20 million in funding cuts. We urge you to prevent any further reduction to the investment in our nation’s arts and culture infrastructure when the Interior Appropriations bill is considered on the House floor.

Sincerely,

American Architectural Foundation
American Federation of Musicians
American Music Center
Americans for the Arts
Association of Art Museum Directors
Association of Performing Arts Presenters
Chamber Music America
Chorus America
College Art Association
Dance/USA
Fractured Atlas
League of American Orchestras
Literary Network
Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
National Council for the Traditional Arts
National Performance Network
OPERA America
Performing Arts Alliance
Society for the Arts in Healthcare
Theatre Communications Group