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Spring 2018 Brings Changes for the Arts on Capitol Hill

Spring has sprung, and while Congress is starting work on the FY 2019 budget cycle, several arts-related events have occurred in the U.S. Capitol in the past week. We wanted to be sure to share them with you.

Memorial Services for U.S. Representative Louise M. Slaughter

Rep. Slaughter with Lin-Manuel Miranda in 2017.

On Wednesday, April 18, Americans for the Arts remembered our dear friend and fierce arts advocate, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), who passed away unexpectedly a few days after Arts Advocacy Day on Friday, March 16, 2018.  Various events on Capitol Hill commemorated Representative Slaughter and her life-long work to support the arts, especially as co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, where she served for over twenty years.

Americans for the Arts hosted a special Capitol Hill reception in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus as a celebration of Representative Slaughter’s life in the arts. Members of Congress, guests, and Louise’s family members gathered together to remember her amazing life of service.

We put together a collection of 50 photos through the years of Louise’s leadership in support of the arts. Tony-award winner John Lloyd Young and Grammy-nominated music producer, composer, songwriter, singer, and arranger Tommy Faragher performed a dedicated musical tribute in her honor.

You can also read Americans for the Arts’ tribute letter, which was submitted to theCongressional Record, along with additional member remarks made on the U.S. House floor.

Welcoming Incoming Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Pingree

Rep. Chellie Pingree with artists John Lloyd Young and Tommy Faragher on April 18, 2018.

One of the pieces of news that evening was U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announcingRep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) as the next co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus!  She joins Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) to co-lead the Arts Caucus.

Representative Pingree is a dedicated advocate for the arts and arts education. She also serves as a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, which oversees funding for many arts and cultural programs, including the budgets for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). We congratulate her and look forward to her leadership. You can read more here.

What’s Next

Americans for the Arts members (L-R) Pam Hogan, Bobby Welch, and Karen Wiley ready to meet with their legislators in Washington, D.C. last week.  Not pictured: Sheila Smith. 

This week, the U.S. House is beginning the work to pass appropriations bills for the FY 2019. We currently expect the bill that funds the NEA and NEH (the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill) to see committee consideration in May or June.

In advance of that work, Americans for the Arts brought four local arts leaders (from Alabama, California, Minnesota, and Texas) to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with the offices of key representatives, including the new incoming U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) as part of a series of year-round mini fly-ins.
Thank you for being an arts advocate!

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Want to do more? Help us continue this important work by also becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund.  If you are not already a member, play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today – it’s free and easy to join.

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