How You Can Save the Arts in 30 Seconds

Photo by DAN GLEITER, The Patriot-News

Make a difference and help save government funding for the arts without spending any money OR taking more than 30 seconds:
CLICK HERE: Advocate for the Arts

The Problem:

(All Information from Americans for the Arts)

Today, the U.S House of Representatives Appropriations Interior Subcommittee passed its initial FY 2013 funding legislation and proposed a cut of $14 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This budget proposal is disappointing. 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 $20 million over the past two years, and this additional reduction is counterintuitive to the national call to help grow jobs and fuel the country’s recovery. Americans for the Arts recently released the Arts and Economic Prosperity IV economic impact report, which provides overwhelming proof that the nonprofit arts industry generates $135.2 billion in economic activity every year and supports 4.13 million FTE jobs annually.

Why is the NEA important?

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

  • NEA grants to organizations and local arts agencies help them maximize their economic and social contributions to their communities.
  • The nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs, and returns $12.6 billion to the federal government in income taxes. Measured against direct federal cultural spending of about $1.4 billion, that’s a return of nearly nine to one. (Figures from Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity III study).
  • Nationally, there are 686,076 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. These businesses employ 2.8 million people, representing 4.20 percent of all businesses and 2.04 percent of all employees, respectively. (Figures from Americans for the Arts, Creative Industries 2009)
  • The arts attract new tourism dollars. Sixty-five percent of U.S. travelers include cultural events on their trips, spending an average of $38.05 per event in addition to the cost of admission on event-related items such as meals, parking, and retail sales.
  • America’s arts and entertainment are leading exports, with estimates of more than $30 billion annually in overseas sales. Public spending on the arts helps position the United States to compete globally.
  • From the work of nonprofit arts agencies to the impact of cultural tourism, the creative sector is important to state economies all across the country. The creative industry in Arkansas, for example, employs nearly 27,000 individuals and generates $927 million in personal income for Arkansas citizens. Creative enterprises are the state’s third largest employer—after transport and logistics and perishable and processed foods. In North Carolina, the wages and income of workers employed by creative industries infused $3.9 billion into the state’s economy in 2006. And in Massachusetts, the 17.6 percent yearly growth of the cultural sector contributed $4.23 billion to the state’s economy (National Governors Association, Arts & the Economy, Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development, 2009).

The NEA supports lifelong learning in the arts, through grants, partnerships, research, and national initiatives.

  • Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages in core academic subjects, score better on standardized tests, and have lower drop-out rates than students without arts education (Critical Evidence,, published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in collaboration with the Arts Education Partnership).
  • NEA grants support a wide range of projects, including educational programs for adults, collaborations between state arts agencies and state education agencies, and K–12 partnerships between arts institutions and educators.
  • The NEA funds school-based and community-based grant programs that help children and youth acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage students with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art.

The NEA supports artistic excellence and improves access to the arts by granting funds to nonprofit arts organizations.

  • In FY 2008, the NEA awarded nearly $122 million of appropriated funds through more than 2,200 grants reaching all 435 congressional districts.
  • Forty percent of all NEA program funds—approximately $47.8 million in FY 2008—are re-granted on a formula basis through the state arts agencies, ensuring that federal funding has an even greater reach.
  • Through programs like Challenge America, the NEA supports artistic activities that reach underserved populations.
  • On average, each NEA grant leverages at least seven dollars from other state, local, and private sources, magnifying the impact of the federal investment.
  • With more funding, the NEA’s core programs could better bring the best in the arts to all Americans. Inadequate funding has caused a decrease in programs available to the public.

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