A Statement of Support for the National Endowment for the Arts
The president’s most recent FY2018 budget proposal recommends the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), calling for a minimal allocation “for expenses necessary to carry out its closure.” The NEA annually leverages a small amount of federal money into enormous support for access and development in the arts across the country, including the Alliance Theatre and many other theater and cultural organizations in Georgia.
Since its creation in 1965, the NEA has granted money in all 435 U.S. congressional districts with 40% of NEA supported projects occurring in high poverty neighborhoods. The NEA supports artistic projects as well as arts education initiatives, using the arts to help increase student achievement and social-emotional intelligence.
Here at the Alliance, the NEA regularly supports the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. The winning play is fully produced at the Alliance, and the four finalist plays receive staged readings. If you saw Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Start Down, or The C.A. Lyons Project, you saw NEA funding at work. The NEA also supports other local theatres you love, including Actor’s Express, Horizon Theatre, 7 Stages, and True Colors to name only a few.
The NEA’s arts education grant program focuses on pre-K through 12th grade students and teachers. Children who participate in intensive arts experiences demonstrate higher levels of scholastic achievement, volunteering, and civic engagement. Arts education also develops creativity, one of the top five 21st century job skills employers seek. Approximately 50 percent of all arts education grantees are in high-poverty neighborhoods.
In addition to making direct grants to arts organizations, the NEA also supports state arts agencies such as the Georgia Council for the Arts through re-granting efforts. The Georgia Council for the Arts supports arts and culture organizations in Atlanta and across Georgia, particularly in Georgia’s rural communities.
Arts organizations receiving NEA funding leverage this support for additional funding. Every $1 of NEA support generates an additional $9 in public and private funding, an impressive return on investment.
If you support arts access for all, we encourage you to contact your state senators and representatives to tell them you are strongly opposed to eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, especially Senator Johnny Isakson, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee. Resources for contacting your representatives are below.