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Federal Arts Funding, Arts Education and Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts                  - Arts Action Fund

It’s time for members to cast their annual 2018 Arts Policy Vote.

Arts Advocacy Day is just around the corner on March 12, 2018. The Arts Action Fund would like to join 90+ national arts partners with a unified message to Congress. Please cast your vote on these three policy agendas for 2018. Click below to vote and you’ll also be given an option to make your annual gift to the Arts Action Fund Political Action Committee (PAC) to support our legislative efforts.


Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S.  Please cast your vote by March 12, 2018. 

What Happens to the Arts When the Government Shuts Down?

Rocky Budget Cycle Continues

During the previous shutdown in 2013, more cultural institutions, like the National Gallery of Art, were forced to close their doors.

Hello, 2018.  Congress is back in full swing, but little progress is being made on funding issues, including for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Yesterday, Congress voted to reopen the government for 17 days, after a brief 3-day partial government shutdown.

This is the fourth short-term funding extension. This next short-term funding extension is currently set to expire on February 8th, when yet another showdown over many of the same divisive issues, including immigration, spending, and health care, may occur.

Despite these larger budgetary and policy issues, we are hopeful that, once there is a final budget agreement, the higher funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ($150 million, same as current funding levels), that the U.S. Senate proposed, will prevail.

What Happens to the Arts When the Government Shuts Down?

Message posted on the NEA website during the shutdown yesterday.

During the brief, 3-day shutdown, some major cultural institutions were able to keep their doors open, like the Smithsonian, by using prior year funds. Each agency determines which federal employees may still report to work during a lapse in funding. At the NEA, only 5 employees could remain at work. This massive staff reduction cuts off communication to the 50 state arts agencies and grantees in every congressional district, leaving grant project requests unanswered and unprocessed.

Each day of the shutdown, the more severe the impacts become for the arts community, impacting the health of our economy, cultural tourism, and access to the arts.

Next Steps and What You Can Do

Looming funding decisions for both FY2018 and FY2019 are still on the horizon. Vigorous policy disagreements in Congress will likely continue, and it is vital your representatives hear from you!

Arts advocates from across the country will convene in Washington, D.C. on March 12-13, 2018 for our annual Arts Advocacy Day.  Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 700 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.

Attendees will attend advocacy training sessions and policy briefings followed by a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill with their U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators.  The Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center will also take place during the two-day event.  Will you represent your state in Washington, D.C. this March?  Register now!

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]

Together WE ARE Americans for the Arts

Americans for the Arts Joins Federal Amicus Brief in Support of Free Speech Rights of Congressional Art Competition Student Artist

Read a blog detailing the specifics of controversy surrounding a painting from a Congressional Art Competition, by Arts Action Fund Executive Director Nina Ozlu Tunceli

SAVEtheNEA Timeline

Click to view a 2017 timeline of advocacy actions that Arts Action Fund members took to #SAVEtheNEA this year.

Goodbye, Republican Congress

By Earle Mack, published Monday, November 27th in The Hill

UPDATED! 10 Reasons to Support the Arts

By Randy Cohen

Fall 2017 Arts Action news

  Vol. III 2017 Quarterly Member Newsletter
Support the Arts Action Fund PAC.
Click to Donate
Message from President & CEO Robert Lynch
As you can see in this quarter’s Arts Action Fund newsletter, the theme is economic impact. From newspaper headlines across the country to briefings on Capitol Hill, state legislative chambers and city halls, the golden number that we all need to memorize is that the nonprofit arts are a $166.3 billion annual industry in America.

We’re very grateful to the federal, state, and local elected officials, business leaders and arts administrators, who are helping to spread the word about the powerful economic impact of the arts in strengthening cities and  enriching lives. In fact, one of our important public partners, the National League of Cities, recently released its annual Top 10 Issues impacting cities. While it may not shock you to read that “economic development” was on the very top of the list, you may be surprised to learn that mayors cited  examples of arts and culture at least 25 percent of the time in their “State of the City” speeches as examples of innovative economic development.

Recently, Arts Action Fund Executive Director Nina Ozlu Tunceli (pictured below on the right) organized a group of grassroots members to meet with the Chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA-42) (pictured in the middle). They met in his district office in Corona, CA, to discuss the programmatic and economic impact of NEA grants in his Congressional district. I am pleased to share that Chairman Calvert rejected President Trump’s request to terminate the NEA and, instead, restored $145 million.

Americans for the Arts Unveils National Findings of Fifth Economic Impact Study of Nonprofit Arts Industry

A new national study by Americans for the Arts finds that the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity in 2015-$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related spending by their audiences.

This activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in government revenue. Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5) is the largest study of its kind and was released on June 17, 2017, at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in San Francisco.

AEP5 documents the economic contributions of the nonprofit arts industry nationally as well as in 341 local study regions, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data was gathered from 14,439 arts and cultural organizations and from 212,691 members of their audiences. The full report, a map of the 341 study regions and a two-page economic impact summary for each region, a sample PowerPoint presentation, and a media toolkit for advocates can be found at


Ads and Newspaper Headlines Mobilize Arts Advocacy
In early 2017, Americans for the Arts launched a suite of ads and a social media campaign, #SAVEtheNEA, to showcase the importance and value of federal funding for the arts. Ad placements began the first week of March in The Hill, New York Daily Post and Palm Beach Daily News. Then continued for Arts Advocacy Day in The HillPolitico and Roll Call, reaching a combined audience of nearly 600,000 influential political readers, as well as more than 500,000 people on Facebook.

In May, Americans for the Arts developed 21 customized ads designed to educate key members of the Congressional Appropriations Committees with ads and op-eds in their hometown newspapers. In June, the results of our economic impact study in 341 regions began grabbing front page headlines in newspapers (like the ones below) across the country in all 50 states.

Federal Update
House Appropriations Committee Recommends $145 million in NEA Funding, Rejecting Trump’s Termination Proposal


In July, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved funding for the NEA at $145 million for FY 2018. Although this proposal is a small $5 million budget cut (from $150 million in FY 2017), we are encouraged that the GOP-controlled House rejected President Trump’s attempt to terminate the NEA.

Still to come is the U.S. Senate’s proposal. At this key time in the negotiations, six local arts leaders, who are also AEP5 study partners, came to Washington, D.C., as part of a continuing series of advocacy initiatives to respond to President Trump’s proposed termination of federal cultural funding, including NEA, NEH, IMLS and CPB. These arts leaders from across the country met with key Congressional appropriators at a strategic time when the House and Senate are negotiating funding for FY 2018.

State and Local Update
Americans for the Arts Continues to Strengthen Ties with Local Officials and Military

In June, Americans for the Arts’ partner, The United States Conference of Mayors, unanimously passed eight arts policy resolutions at its annual conference. These resolutions called on Congress for full funding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), preserving charitable giving tax incentives, and endorsing the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Study.

Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the National Association of Counties, was recently awarded an NEA Our Town grant to work with rural counties to use the arts and culture to address systemic issues facing counties.

Americans for the Arts 
was also contracted by the NEA to administer its Creative Forces program
(military arts therapy) and recently hosted the first of 10 kick-off celebrations. These events will bring together members of the military and local arts groups, who will be working together to provide arts therapy and programs to military soldiers, veterans and their families.

PAC Update

The Arts Action Fund hosted its annual reception and fundraiser at the Americans for the Arts Convention in San Francisco on June 16th, featuring President and CEO Bob Lynch, Arts Action Fund Executive Director Nina Ozlu Tunceli, and Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program Margot Knight. Margot spoke about the importance of the Arts Action Fund’s grassroots work with members. She urged advocates at the reception to become monthly donors to the Arts Action Fund PAC in order to
support pro-arts candidates, especially in the next mid-term elections. To set-up monthly giving, please visit


National Arts in Education Week

Join us in celebration of National Arts In Education Week from September 10-16, 2017.

National Arts in Education Week

Join us in celebration of National Arts In Education Week from September 10-16, 2017.

A Giant in Arts Education Research Passes

Blog by Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director of Americans for the Arts Action Fund