Friday, February 13, 2009


The Senate and House of Representatives are set to vote on final passage of the economic stimulus legislation – H.R.1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – which includes $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

The compromise version of the bill with tax breaks and spending totaling $789 billion stipulates that the arts funding goes for grants to activities and projects "which preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn", with 40 percent of the amount going to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations ("in a manner similar to the agency's current practice") and the remainder going out in competitive grants from the NEA. Matching requirements are waived.

House and Senate negotiators on the bill dropped the language prohibiting stimulus funds from going to museums, theatres, and arts centers which was included in the version of the bill passed by the Senate. However, the legislation still excludes support from going to fund projects at zoos and aquariums along with casinos, golf courses and swimming pools.

Congratulations and appreciation to all of you who contacted your legislators in Washington urging their support for the arts funding in the stimulus package. The House allocated the money for the NEA from the beginning of the process, but the Senate did not include the arts funding in its draft of the stimulus bill. Your advocacy and the insistence of our champions in the House and Senate made the difference.

No comments: