Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance/ Getty Images
Recording Academy Leads Music Community In Urging Increased Funding For The Arts and Music Education
"When it comes to music, the NEA is responsible for preserving America’s rich musical legacy and remains invaluable in the development and education of our future music creators" –Neil Portnow, Conversations In Advocacy #55
As the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares to set the Fiscal Year 2020 level of federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), we are reminded of the many ways the NEA enriches our culture and empowers our communities through music and art. This year, the Recording Academy is leading the call for increased funding to these critical causes. On May 15, Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow submitted written testimony to the Committee outlining this importance.
"At a funding level of $167.5 million, the NEA will be able to spread diverse opportunities for arts participation across all 50 states, while expanding its grant-making capacity that has proven to be a sound investment. In 2016, NEA funds yielded more than $500 million in matching support—leveraging outside funds at a ratio of 9:1. The agency is a lynchpin in America’s arts economy that now accounts for more than $700 billion in economic activity."
The funds from #NEA grants/programs support the talent and spirit that makes U.S. intellectual property one of our greatest national assets. Here's how the new budget proposal for the fiscal year 2019 would be slashing critical @NEAarts funding https://t.co/LzoziljrtM #SaveTheNEA pic.twitter.com/ryomAlUa2r
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) February 17, 2018
This amount of $167.5 million would mark a $12.5 million increase from FY19 and match the highest funding level of this century, despite attempts to slash NEA funding in the White House budget proposal. Ultimately, the impact of the NEA funding is wide-reaching, as Portnow pointed out.
"The NEA has brought music to your back yard," Portnow said, citing more than $53 million in music related grants across all 50 states. "It must be funded to ensure that Americans in all walks of life can continue to enjoy and participate in the American musical experience."
Portnow also points out that this level of support of music and the arts can be achieved, "all for less than $1 per American per year."
This week, the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee marked-up a spending bill that included $167.5 million in NEA funding. The bill goes to the full committee next week for consideration and is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives early this summer. The Senate does not have a set timeline yet on consideration, and the Academy and the music community it represents stand unified in support of this funding level.
Adding local voices to the discussion, two Recording Academy Executive Directors from the Los Angeles and San Francisco Chapters, Qiana Conley and Michael Winger, respectively, also testified in support of increased funding for the arts at the state level. The two spoke in favor of funding of music education programs at a hearing at the California State Capitol in Sacramento for the Joint Committee on the Arts and Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media earlier this week.
Conley and Winger highlighted the work of education programs such as GRAMMY U and the GRAMMY Museum's GRAMMY Camp, which provide aspiring music professionals with resources and opportunities as they begin their careers in music. Conley pointed out these programs are not entirely funded and require additional state support for attendees, while Winger outlined the simple mission of having a music teacher in every single public school in California, urging the state leaders to raise the per pupil funding level to the national average of roughly $12,000 per student.