Arts Win In New House Budget Thanks To NEA Funding Champions
Before the budget bill's passage in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 3 by 309–118, the Los Angeles Times announced that funding for the National Endowment for the Arts will increase by $2 million, above the $148 million that supported its many vital programs through the 2016 fiscal year.
This win marks welcome news for advocates of music and the arts following the White House's proposed elimination of the NEA in March, which Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow described as "shortsighted." He added, "The modest support that we provide to music and the arts is returned many times over, whether measured in jobs and economic impact, or sheer cultural enrichment and introspection."
Support for America's cultural "soft power" remains strong, crossing partisan lines. Like the NEA, National Endowment for the Humanities will receive an increase over last year's $148 million, to $150 million. In addition to efforts for music initiatives, public support for documentaries and their role in American life helped push this over the finish line. Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding will also remain level, at $445 million. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education program received $27 million, marking support for one of the many vitally important initiatives that consistent federal support keeps alive.
Funding for the NEA was a key advocacy priority during the 2017 GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day, and support for both the arts and music education was a predominant theme at the preceding GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards. Ultimately, it was efforts such as these that let Congress know the arts make a difference that matters.