Contact Your Legislators: Congress Votes This Week On Cuts to the Current NEA and NEH Budgets

By Saturday, Congress will vote on the continuing resolution for this year’s federal spending. President Trump has proposed an immediate cut of $15 million each this year for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and total elimination of both federal agencies next year. If the NEA and NEH are reduced this year, it will both affect grants already awarded this year and indicate how these vital agencies will fare in next year’s federal budget. Funding for the NEA reaches all fifty states, and provides almost half of the total funding for Georgia Council for the Arts through its funding for state arts agencies. 

We are urging everyone to contact their legislators in the next 48 hours to voice your support for funding of the NEA and NEH at the current level or higher. A strong last minute push can help to encourage key swing legislators to keep funding in tact for the NEA and NEH. Share your personal stories about your relationship with arts and culture in addition to key impact facts (available below) about the impact of the NEA. Click here to find out who represents you.

 Here’s what you can do:

  1. Call your elected officials in Congress. Ask for their official position regarding funding for the NEA and NEH. Tell them that you support funding the NEA and NEH at the current level. You can use the sample script below, or customize to your own needs. Find your elected officials’ phone numbers.

  2. Email your elected officials in Congress. Send an email using this template from Americans for the Arts, or customize it with your own words. Send an email to your Senators and Representative.

  3. Share your support for the NEA and NEH on social media using the hashtags #ArtsVote and #SavetheNEA. Tag, Tweet or Post to your elected officials so that they hear your voice. Find my elected officials’ social media information.

  4. Share this email with friends, family and your professional network across the U.S., and encourage them to take the same actions. Share especially with those who are artists, arts administrators, arts patrons and arts enthusiasts, and encourage them to share their stories.

Together we can show our Congress members that Americans support funding for the arts!

Sincerely,

C4 Atlanta  

*Thank you to our friends at Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance for their help with this update.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Phone Script in Support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Sample Phone Script in Support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:

“Hello! Thank you for taking my call. I’m a constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and I am calling to express my support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I understand Congess is considering cutting funding for the NEA and NEH, with the possibility of eliminating the NEA and NEH, IMLS and privatizing our public broadcasting.

Do you know what [elected official]’s position is on this proposal?…

…Thank you. As a constituent, I hope that the [REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR] will reject all attempts to terminate or reduce the size and scope of the NEA, NEH, IMLS and to privatize public broadcasting. These institutions create jobs, educate children, support arts learning at any age, and promote access to the arts in every community across America.

Thank you again for your time.”

*Thank you to our friends at Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance for this script.

Top Ten Reasons to Support the Arts from Americans for the Arts

Top Ten Reasons to Support the Arts from Americans for the Arts (includes key facts on impact):

  1. Arts improve individual well-being. 63 percent of the population believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” 64 percent feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in,” and 73 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”
  2. Arts unify communities. 67 percent of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 62 percent agree that the arts “help me understand other cultures better”—a perspective observed across all demographic and economic categories.
  3. Arts improve academic performance. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, and lower drop-out rates. The Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers, and has declined for three decades. Yet, research shows that low socio-economic-status students have even greater increases in academic performance, college-going rates, college grades, and holding jobs with a future. 88 percent of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.
  4. Arts strengthen the economy. The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, which represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences), which supports 4.1 million jobs and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue.
  5. Arts are good for local businesses. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters—valuable revenue for local commerce and the community. Attendees who live outside the county in which the arts event takes place spend twice as much as their local counterparts ($39.96 vs. $17.42).
  6. Arts drive tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. Arts destinations grow the economy by attracting foreign visitor spending. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that, between 2003-2015, the percentage of international travelers including “art gallery and museum visits” on their trip grew from 17 to 29 percent, and the share attending “concerts, plays, and musicals” increased from 13 to 16 percent.
  7. Arts are an export industry. The arts and culture industries had a $30 billion international trade surplus in 2014, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) exceeded $60 billion.
  8. Arts spark creativity and innovation. Creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders—with 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. The Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report concludes, “The arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the 3rd millennium.” Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than other scientists.
  9. Arts improve healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.
  10. Arts and healing in the military. The arts are part of the military continuum—promoting readiness during pre-deployment as well as aiding in the successful reintegration and adjustment of Veterans and military families into community life. Service members and Veterans rank art therapies in the top 4 (out of 40) interventions and treatments.

You can download the “Top 10” one-pager here.

*Information courtesy of Americans for the Arts