Congress Allocates $146M to Support Arts & Culture Nationwide

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 10:15am

Photo: US CapitolOn Tuesday night, Congress released the details of its massive FY 2014 Omnibus spending bill. A petition circulated by the Arts Action Fund, signed by more than 40,000 arts advocates, reinforced the need to allocate a robust fund to the National Endowment for the Arts. The agency has been budgeted to receive $146 million for the year.

The Arts Action Fund closely watched the NEA's budget from its start in the Interior Appropriations Committee, who recommended an initial cut of 49% to the NEA's funding. Over the course of many months, the Arts Action Fund invited arts supporters to sign on to their petition and voice support for greater investment in arts and culture by the federal government.

In fact, this new funding level is, in effect, an increase over last year’s since Congress is suspending the automatic sequester cuts that began last year. NEA will now have the full spending power of $146 million to invest in community-based arts programs across the country.

The NEA disburses its funds in a variety of ways.  While direct grants to artists and arts organizations is part of the agency's strategy, it also grants a large portion of its budget to each state art agency and many local arts agencies to facilitate local decision making in arts funding.

Some reporting in this story was provided courtesy of the Arts Action Fund.