NEA Survives Two Attempts to End Federal Funding for the Arts

Victory for the arts in the U.S. House of Representatives this evening! There were two attempts to eliminate federal funding for the arts and humanities in the FY’24 Interior Appropriations bill this evening and both were soundly defeated! Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA-10) sponsored two floor amendments: Amendment #60 to eliminate all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was defeated by a vote of 292-129 and Amendment #61 to eliminate all funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was defeated by a vote of 292 to 132. A full 100% of Democrats voted against both amendments and were joined by a strong 39% of Republicans to make it a BIPARTISAN declaration that Congress supports the arts and culture. You can now see your House member voted on the NEA vote and the NEH vote.

This victory is due, in no small part, to the hard work of arts advocates across the country. While more work needs to be done to match the Senate number for FY2024, today demonstrates the powerful influence arts advocates have when united together to support important federal arts programs.

Next step is that this House bill will now move to the Senate, where there is a difference in funding levels that needs to be reconciled. The House level sets both agencies at $186 million each and the Senate recommends $207 million each. We will be lobbying for the higher level. In the meantime, please thank your House members who voted NO on both amendments.

Be a Holiday Arts Champion!

Contribute to the Americans for the Arts Action Fund 2022 Year End Campaign

Please Contribute to The Arts Action Fund’s Year-End Campaign this Season!      

It was a successful year in arts advocacy. We kicked off 2022 with a set of four bold Arts Policy Platform positions that Arts Action Fund members not only voted overwhelmingly in favor of, but also made significant progress on:

President Biden issued a powerful Executive Order to reinstate the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with a focus on equity and diversity policy issues.

National arts services organizations, the nation’s arts unions, and the Arts Action Fund made a unified ask to Congress to build a path to indexing annual federal funding for the arts and humanities to $1 per person. To that end, Congress will likely be finalizing the first substantial increase this month in an Omnibus appropriations bill. 

In the third COVID-19 economic relief package—the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—the Arts Action Fund was part of a successful campaign to secure an extra $145 million each for the NEA and NEH. Moreover, many state and local arts agencies were able to secure millions of additional dollars in ARPA state and local regranting funds to support artists and arts organizations.

A groundbreaking number of 10 federal arts-specific legislative bills were introduced into Congress featuring creative economy, arts education, and equity policies. Each bill secured dozens of Congressional Co-Sponsors and will be reintroduced in 2023.

As the election season heated up, we launched our ArtsVote: Make Your Vote Count campaign, customizing our State Voter Factsheets with updated 2022 election laws for all 50 states. We created strategic social media toolkits for each state to highlight key voting deadlines.

We are committed to advancing arts policies that matter most to you. Can you help support our grassroots programs and political efforts to advance the arts in America by contributing to our Year-End Campaign with a gift to the Arts Action Fund?

Our success relies on the support and participation of our members. Help us reach our Year-End contribution goal of $30,000! Please contribute any amount you can afford.

Thank you for your generosity and have a safe and happy holiday season!
Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director
P.S. Here is the official full-length Arts Action Fund 2022 Year-End letter.

Call to Action: Congress to Address Arts Funding in November

The final FY23 Interior Appropriations budget, which specifically includes annual funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will be negotiated in conference soon by members of both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. The current House version of the bill sets the allocation at an all-time high funding level of $207 million each for the NEA and NEH.  However, the Senate Appropriations Committee draft set its allocation at only $195 million each for NEA and NEH. Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund have set up an easy way for you to quickly send two important messages in one step to both your Senators and your House Representative with these messages: Urge your Senators to accept the higher House-set funding level of $207 million each for the NEA and NEH for FY 2023. Urge your House Representative to stand strong on the $207 million allocation voted on by the House of Representatives earlier this year to fund the NEA and NEH FY 23 budgets. Contact your member of Congress today and make your voice heard about how vital the arts are to your state and our country!  
1275 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
 

[email protected]
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

2020 Congressional Arts Report Card

   
              
                                                 ​​​​​October 19, 2020


Election Day is November 3rd and early indicators show 2020 will reach historic voter turnout levels in every state. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the great majority of states have encouraged mail-in/absentee voting and expanded in-person early voting.

While the national headlines focus on the presidential election, it’s important to note that all 435 U.S. House of Representative seats and one-third of the U.S. Senate are also up for election. Thousands more state and local office holders will be on the ballots as well.

The Arts Action Fund Political Action Committee (PAC) is pleased to provide you a copy of our 2020 Congressional Arts Report Card, analyzing and scoring the arts support (or lack thereof) of incumbent candidates looking to get re-elected to Congress. The Arts Action Fund PAC relies on this report to choose which pro-arts Congressional incumbents to support financially.

This Congressional Arts Report Card is also your one-stop guide to learn if members of your Congressional delegation support (or not support) the arts and arts education. I’m pleased to say that the majority of House members (252) received a passing pro-arts letter grade and a majority of Senators (54) received a “Thumbs Up” in our Report Card.

Can you help us raise $30,000 by Election Day to support our ArtsVote: Make Your Vote Count campaign?

CONTRIBUTE TO THE PAC
Thank you and be sure to make your vote count!
Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director P.S.  Be Sure to download your ArtsVote State Voter Factsheet!    
 

Arts Vote Free Virtual Event

Arts Vote 2020 - Arts Vote Free Virtual Event Americans for the Arts and the Democratic National Convention

John Lewis Statement Released Posthumously

John Lewis posthumous statement

The Honorable John Lewis wrote his last remarks to the nation to be published posthumously upon the day of his funeral in Atlanta, Georgia on July 30, 2020.  We honor him in publishing these inspiring words from one of the greatest men to walk the Earth, a civil rights giant who fought for Voter’s Rights, and a passionate arts advocate, who famously stated “Without the arts, without music, without dance, without drama, without photography, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings.”

Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation

By John Lewis

July 30, 2020

Mural of John Lewis in Atlanta, GA

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Americans for the Arts

IMPORTANT PUA and PPP Info from Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies Again

  • The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan through a bank or online financial institution was officially extended from June 30 to August 8, 2020. Last week, Congress unanimously voted to extend the deadline and President Trump finally signed it into law over the weekend. Please note that this is only a deadline extension and not the opportunity to apply for a second PPP. There is still more than $125 billion available for first-time PPP borrowers who are self-employed, gig artists, contractors, or a corporation or nonprofit with W2 employees. Just remember that you cannot collect pandemic unemployment if you’re also paying yourself with a PPP forgivable loan during the same covered period.

 

  • The extra $600 of weekly federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is still currently set to expire on July 31, 2020. For those of you who are self-employed, gig artists, or Form 1099 independent contractors and are currently collecting PUA, you may want to consider applying for a PPP loan on August 1st, which will allow you to then stagger rather than overlap federal economic relief assistance during this pandemic.

 

  • Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund currently have an Action Alert that will enable you to send a quick email to your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators, urging them to approve both an extension of PUA benefits beyond 7/31/20, and allow a second round of PPP forgivable loans for existing borrowers. These two programs are particularly needed to those working in the arts, entertainment, tourism, and hospitality industries. Send your emails to Congress through our Arts Action Center.

 

  • On July 1st, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the names of the 855 national, state, and local nonprofit and governmental arts organizations, who were awarded $45 million in CARES Act emergency arts funding. This is in addition to the supplemental $30 million that was quickly passed through to every state and regional arts agency in April for purposes of re-granting locally within their geographic areas.

 

  • If you haven’t done so yet, please remember to complete your 2019 federal income tax return by July 15th, or at least request a filing extension to October 15th. The CARES Act had extended this year’s filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, but this extension does not necessarily apply to the filing deadline of your state income tax return.

 

Resources to Assist You:

  1. Office Hours with Nina (Free Q&A forum about the CARES Act on M, W, F @ 11am EDT)
  2. Book Nina for Your Own Webinar (Free service to share tips on CARES Act and legislation)
  3. CARES Act Table Updated 6/24/2020
  4. PPP Loan Forgiveness Application
  5. ArtsU on-demand videotaped training webinars on the CARES Act
  6. Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Resource and Response Center

Thank you for everything you do to enrich people’s lives through the arts. If possible, please also consider contributing to the Arts Action Fund PAC.

2021 NEA Budget Increase Proposed

Americans for the Arts
            
July 7, 2020

Earlier today, the U.S House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee strongly rejected President Trump’s fourth consecutive annual budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by instead appropriating $170 million in funding for each for fiscal year FY 2021! This represents an increase for both agencies of $7.75 million each over the current FY 2020 funding level of $162.25 million and it is the same amount that we recommended to Congress.

Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert Lynch and ArtsVote 2020 Chair and Arts Action Fund Board Member Ben Folds testify before the U.S. House Interior Subcommittee on February 6, 2020.

As you will recall, Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund president and CEO Robert Lynch and our ArtsVote 2020 Chairman and musician Ben Folds testified in support of the $170 million budget request on February 6, 2020. (Watch Ben’s testimony here.)

Additionally, we are very pleased to share that the House bill includes specific language requested by Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund to enable the NEA to waive financial matching grant requirements and to allow grantees to use the federal funds for general operating support as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  These new funds would not limit eligibility to only recent NEA grantees and would apply to FY 2021 grants as well as any outstanding FY 2020 and 2019 grant funds.

Stay tuned. This bill will proceed next to the full U.S. House Appropriations Committee, then the House floor before moving to the Senate chamber for consideration over the coming weeks and months.

Arts advocacy makes a difference. Thank you for everything you do to enrich people’s lives through the arts. If possible, please also consider contributing to the Arts Action Fund PAC.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

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New Studies Show Devastating Impact on Arts Sector

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainWe have some tough economic data to share with you about the arts sector, but with your advocacy help, we can work on recovering and rebuilding. Following up on Friday’s action alert on the HEROES Act legislation, we hope you will take five minutes to urge your members of Congress, especially your Senators, to increase support for pro-arts policies as negotiations continue on the next legislative package of COVID-19 relief.

The coronavirus continues to have a devastating impact on America’s arts sector. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released Small Business Pulse Survey data showing three-quarters of responding “Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation” businesses saying the pandemic has had a “Large Negative Effect”—second only to “Accommodations and Food Services.” Unfortunately, by several measures, arts businesses are not getting the same level of relief as other sectors of the economy despite being more severely impacted.

U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, April 26 to May 2, 2020

Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts organizations are estimated to be $5.5 billion, to date. These organizations and companies have also lost 210 million admissions due to cancelled events, resulting in a $6.7 billion loss in event-related spending by audiences (restaurants, lodging, retail).

Two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed, as jobs in the “Arts, Entertainment & Recreation” sector have shrunk by 54.5%.

On a positive note, earlier this month, 140 Chambers of Commerce from 39 states offered support of cultural institutions to Congressional leadership through a joint statement that reads, “These institutions are important to every community, exposing residents to creativity and education and enhancing their quality of life.” We are very appreciative of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE) for this leadership.

Similarly, a group of 23 mayors have signed on to a pro-arts statement to congressional leaders highlighting their support for the federal cultural agencies, paycheck support and the self-employed and freelance creative workforce. Their advocacy was led by San Francisco mayor London Breed and the local arts alliance.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which includes substantial funds for state and local governments, school districts, Community Development Block Grants, small businesses and self-employed, and funds for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and museums.

May and June are the most strategic times to increase your advocacy to Congress—Please take five minutes to urge Congress to increase support for pro-arts policies as negotiations continue on this next legislative package of COVID-19 relief.

Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund will continue to work for increased support for our sector as we deal with this global pandemic. In addition to the continuing damage reports being collected through our national economic snapshot survey and dashboard and our up-to-the-minute COVID-19 Resource Center updates, we continue to produce a series of webinars through our ArtsU platform to present experts and guidance to the field to help navigate through these new federal provisions during this challenging time.


1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
F 212.980.4857
[email protected]
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

National Arts Action Digital Summit - Participate in this First Ever event!!

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainJoin us for the first-ever National Arts Action Digital Summit!

April 27-May 1, 2020

Register Here!


Americans for the Arts is delighted to bring a brand-new experience to engage with hundreds of arts advocates from across the country virtually at the National Arts Action Digital Summit.

With Congress scheduled to return in May for further COVID-19 relief legislation and the annual federal budget, advocating for the arts is more important now than ever. Along with over 85 National Partners, we’re excited to present over a dozen plenary and issue-specific breakout session webinars live from April 27 – May 1, 2020. You can register for the entire Digital Summit, or for individual sessions based on your preference.

We’ll be presenting advocates the new COVID-19 policy requests several dozen national arts organizations are taking to Congress. Please take two minutes to send an updated e-alert to Capitol Hill with new pro-arts policy requests as Congress looks towards a second CARES Act bill.

Over these five days, you’ll gain a depth of knowledge from policy experts at Americans for the Arts and many of our National Partners, including sessions on:

  • Congressional COVID-19 Relief for the Arts
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • Arts Education
  • Charitable Giving
  • And many more!

You’ll also be able to watch a recording of these webinars whenever you like to refresh your understanding of the issues. Learn more and register here! Then join the Summit Facebook event to connect with other arts advocates before, during, and after the event. $25 per event, $150 for the entire program of events.

Designed to bring advocates the latest updates in federal arts policy, compelling up-to-the-minute data, and successful advocacy techniques, the National Arts Action Digital Summit is the best way to prepare yourself to make key asks of your federal elected officials and to learn how to be the best arts advocate you can be—all from the comfort and safety of your home. Learn more today!


1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
F 212.980.4857
[email protected]
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org