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The National Endowment for the Arts and Ohio … This Is Us!

The National Endowment for the Arts and Ohio … This Is Us!

With President Donald Trump proposing the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts for the second year in a row, last month I provided information about the current state of play in Washington. For our part, we were busy in February at the Ohio Arts Council preparing for National Arts Advocacy Day to carry your voice to Capitol Hill.

Thanks to the organizing efforts of Ohio Citizens for the Arts, nearly 50 advocates made the rounds to meet with every Ohio Congressional office.

I am pleased to report back to you that our visits with elected officials were a great success and the campaign to #SavetheNEA was very well received. The arts continue to enjoy broad, bipartisan support among members of the United States Congress, particularly in the Ohio delegation.

We now see the fruits of our labor. Thanks to arts advocates from across the nation, by Friday we expect the Congress to formally reject the President's call to eliminate the NEA. In fact, late last night, Congressional leaders brokered a federal budget deal that proposes the exact opposite. Both chambers are now expected to approve a federal Fiscal Year 2018 budget that not only saves the NEA, but increases its budget by $3 million, or 2%. This means the NEA would see its funding rise from $150 million in FFY 2017 to $153 million in FFY 2018.

Funding for the NEA has an outsized impact on the arts in Ohio. Consider:

  • Every single NEA dollar granted to the Ohio Arts Council, nearly $1 million annually, is reinvested in arts organizations statewide. Not one dime goes to the administration of the OAC.
  • Every Congressional district in Ohio—and nationally—has at least one NEA grant.
  • In the most recent round of direct grant awards from the NEA, $521,000 was awarded to 26 arts organizations in 12 communities.

Although National Arts Advocacy Day has ended, don’t let that stop you from being heard! Your advocacy matters every single day, and the power of your voice clearly makes a difference. We should be encouraged that Congress appears ready to act on a $3 million NEA budget increase in FFY 2018,  but we must stay vigilant. Our efforts and actions will be necessary once again to save the NEA for FFY 2019 and beyond, as the President's threat of elimination still remains.

What can you do? Ohio Citizens for the Arts is your year-round presence with policymakers, offering a way to get involved and communicate with elected officials. Find out more at ohiocitizensforthearts.org.

Until next time,

 


Donna S. Collins
Executive Director



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