Final Budget Agreement for 2011 Cuts NEA, Arts in Education

(4-13-2011) From AFTA Arts Action News:

The House Appropriations Committee publicly released the final budget agreement for FY 2011 negotiated by President Obama with House and Senate leaders, which includes $155 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This represents a cut of $12.5 million from the FY 2010 enacted level of $167.5 million, which is significantly better than the previous House-approved level of $124.4 million.

Also included in this bill is $25.5 million in funding for the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, which had been zeroed-out in a previous continuing resolution. This compromise legislation is set to go to the House floor later this week before moving on to the Senate for final approval.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives had passed legislation that would have reduced NEA funding by 26 percent and faced threats of terminating the agency. Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch noted in a press statement: "Americans for the Arts is heartened by the final FY2011 federal budget levels for the nation’s cultural agencies, which reflect a more sensible and proportionate funding cut of 7.5 percent to the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. While we firmly believe that the nation would be better served with a more robust investment in nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in communities across the country, we acknowledge the constraints of the current budget. We are also pleased that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Smithsonian Institution did not incur any cuts."

This news comes just a week after National Arts Advocacy Day where hundreds of arts advocates from across the country were joined by actors Alec Baldwin, Kerry Washington, Hill Harper, and Kevin Spacey in Washington, DC to advocate in support of the NEA and arts education. Watch Alec Baldwin's remarks on Arts Advocacy Day here.

Thanks for all your efforts in contacting your legislators during the last few months. While we have worked hard in the fight for FY 2011, the battle over FY 2012 is just beginning. During the next few months, we will be reaching out to you again to continue advocating in support of the cultural programs in FY 2012.

Help us continue this important work by 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.