Thanks to everyone participating in the Arts Advocacy Day activities this year. I wanted to update you on the budget situation for FY 2011 and let you know that your support contributed to making a difference for the arts.
As was discussed in Washington, this year was unlike previous years in that we were advocating for appropriations to the NEA and the Arts in Education Program at the US DOE for both FY 2011 and 2012. Due to a variety of factors (including dealing with a lame duck Congress and the midterm elections), and despite being half way through FY 2011, the budget for this year still had not been passed. Many of you have been following the news in regard to the potential government shutdown on Friday of last week, and the deal that was made to avoid that shutdown is to pass a bill (which will be voted on this week) for the FY 2011 budget.
The climate in Washington this year has been very challenging, and going into Arts Advocacy Day the President’s
proposed budget included a 21.5 million dollar cut to the NEA (funding it at $146 million) and the latest continuing resolution completely eliminated the Arts in Education program (a $40 million dollar program). The timing of Arts Advocacy Day was fortunate in that elected officials were hearing from their constituents during the same week as budget discussions were taking place. The deal that was struck to avoid a government shutdown was much more favorable for the arts, funding the NEA at $155 million dollars and the Arts in Education Program at the US DOE at $25 million.
The amounted appropriated for the Arts in Education Program at the US DOE provides enough for continually funding current grantees with $10 million dollars available for further expenditures. While level funding was not maintained, this is still a huge accomplishment for the arts given the challenging climate in Washington, and that the House had passed a $43 million dollar cut. In support of the gains made in NEA appropriations, we should thank Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). I encourage you to write to both of these Congressmen and thank them for their support of the arts. They can be reached at the following links:
- Rep. Mike Simpson, http://simpson.house.gov/Contact/
- Sen. Jack Reed, http://reed.senate.gov/contact/contact-share.cfm
Thanks for traveling to Washington with SAA this year! More information regarding Arts Advocacy Day and the FY 2011 Budget can be found here on Americans for the Arts’ website. CLICK HERE.
Again, I encourage you to thank your elected officials who expressed support for the arts, and I hope to see you at more Arts Advocacy Days in the future!
Treasurer, Student Advocates for the Arts
M.A. Candidate, Arts Administration
Columbia University, Teachers College