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Update on the National Endowment for the Arts Budget

Unfortunately, speculation that President Donald Trump would propose eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has proven to be true. In his official budget request, President Trump has asked the U.S. Congress to zero out the NEA’s budget.

Although this news is disappointing, we are nowhere near the end of the road for the NEA or public support of the arts. Consider the following:

  • The President’s budget request is just that—a request. Congress ultimately holds the constitutional authority to fund the NEA and the rest of the federal government.
  • Within Congress, the NEA has bipartisan support. Just last year, both the U.S. House and Senate proposed increases in NEA funding. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) reports that Representative Ken Calvert, a Republican from Southern California who chairs the subcommittee that hears the NEA budget, recently remarked to a Democratic NEA supporter, “As you know there’s always been bipartisan support for these programs, and I suspect that there will be in the future, too.”
  • Here in Ohio, your Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has traditionally enjoyed strong support from Governor John R. Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly. In his current budget proposal, Governor Kasich recommended maintaining state funding for arts grants at a historically high level. We are fortunate and grateful to have the backing of Ohio’s elected officials to advance our mission to strengthen the arts in our state.

National Arts Advocacy Day is especially well-timed this year. On March 20-21—that’s this coming Monday and Tuesday—arts supporters from across the nation will descend on Washington to make their voices heard. For more resources and information on how you can be an effective arts advocate, get in touch with our state’s arts advocacy organization, Ohio Citizens for the Arts, or get involved at the federal level through Americans for the Arts.

Stay calm, remain strong, and be confident. The NEA has weathered these types of debates before, and together, the arts community will persevere.

Until next time,

Donna Collins' signature

Donna S. Collins

Executive Director

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