National Arts Advocacy Day Needs Your Support

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 8:30am

Photo: advocacy in actionThis week hundreds of arts advocates from across America gathered in Washington, DC, to promote the value of public and private investment in arts and culture.

Organized by Americans for the Arts, the annual Arts Advocacy Day includes two days of training and learning sessions for advocates, networking opportunities, the famed Nancy Hanks Lecture on Public Policy, and a day of meetings with elected officials on Capitol Hill.  This year's Hanks Lecture was presented by Yo-Yo Ma, the famed cellist with ties to Los Angeles.

As part of their work, delegates to the national Arts Advocacy Day will share their experiences with arts and culture with their elected officials and also reinforce Americans for the Arts's primary issues for the current year, which include

  • Funding the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Encouraging charitable gifts to arts and culture organizations
  • Offering artists a tax deduction when they gift their own work to organizations

The National Endowment for the Arts is the primary national funder of public money for the arts.  Its budget varies year to year based on the priority placed on it by legislators, the health of the overall economy, and the available revenue in the government to fund it and other endeavors.  It was established in the 1960s by then-President John F. Kennedy.  Many states and local arts agencies receive funding from the NEA, which must be matched by contributions from other sources.

Several legislators have discussed the option of ending the charitable contribution tax deduction when taxpayers give donations to charity, but the impact of this on America's charitable sector is unclear.

Artists who give gifts of their own work to a museum or other organization can currently only deduct the cost of the materials used in creating the piece regardless of the piece's actual market value.  For a painting, for example, this could include costs for paints, brushes, and the canvas used to create the painting.  However, if a collector gives a valuable piece of art, she or he may deduct the piece's market value from their taxes. 

Danielle Brazell of Arts for LA is among the advocates from California working on our behalf in Washington this week.  But how can you help?  Americans for the Arts needs you to write your elected officials in Washington to express your support for arts and culture funding. Sending a letter is easy and takes less than two minutes. Click here to send your letter.

National Arts Advocacy takes place just over a week before ArtsDay 2013, Los Angeles's own celebration of the impact of arts and culture. Learn more about ArtsDay here.