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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!


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Together WE ARE Americans for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts Statement on the Death of NEA Opera Honoree Lotfi Mansouri

It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2009 NEA Opera Honoree Lotfi Mansouri. Widely known for pioneering the use of supertitles in opera, Mansouri was a prolific opera stage director, having directed productions at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and Milan’s La Scala, as well as other opera productions both nationally and internationally.

Statement from the National Endowment for the Arts on the Death of Hmong Musician Bua Xou Mua, recipient of a 1985 NEA National Heritage Fellowship

It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of Bua Xou Mua, a Hmong musician and 1985 NEA National Heritage Fellow.

National Endowment for the Arts to Host Twitter Chat on Creative Placemaking

Come tweet with us! For anyone interested in creative placemaking, and who is not afraid to ask, the National Endowment for the Arts invites you to a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 from 2:00–3:00 PM ET. Jason Schupbach, NEA’s director of design programs will be on hand @NEAarts to respond to tweets about creative placemaking, the NEA’s Our Town program, and the arts in community revitalization. Use the hashtag #NEAOurTown.

National Endowment for the Arts Hosts Live Webinar about How to Build Collective Impact Initiatives on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. EDT

As the benefits of using a common agenda to solve complex social problems become better understood, the concept of using collective impact to advance arts education continues to gain traction. In a follow-up to the Spring 2013 webinar that provided an overview of the topic, the NEA will host a public webinar on how to begin and build collective impact initiatives on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows to Perform in Free Concert at Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC on Friday, September 27, 2013

The 2013 concert will be held on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. EDT, and will feature art forms as diverse as Irish fiddling, traditional gypsy music, and Native American storytelling, among others.

Industrial Designers Play a Critical Role in Manufacturing, Technology, and Innovation

For the first time, the National Endowment for the Arts takes an in-depth look at this dynamic field in the report Valuing the Art of Industrial Design: A Profile of the Sector and Its Importance to Manufacturing, Technology, and Innovation.

National Endowment for the Arts Statement on the Death of NEA Jazz Master Marian McPartland

It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2000 NEA Jazz Master Marian McPartland. As host of the renowned public radio show Piano Jazz, McPartland played a key role in helping to popularize jazz through her intricate knowledge of the art form and her prowess on the piano.

National Endowment for the Arts Statement on the Death of NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton

It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2010 NEA Jazz Master Cedar Walton. Walton was one of the great hard bop pianists as well as a composer of jazz standards ‘Bolivia,’ ‘Clockwise,’ and ‘Firm Roots.’

National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2013-2014 NEA Jazz Masters Live Grants

Managed by Arts Midwest, the 2013-2014 NEA Jazz Masters Live program will provide $75,000 in grants to six nonprofit organizations to present NEA Jazz Masters at performance and educational activities.