We Need Your Help! On Thursday June 26 the House Committee on Appropriations,
which oversees funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a
mere $10 million for the agency’s FY 98 budget. This represents a 90 percent
cut from last year’s budget of $99.5 million and is designed to provide only
enough funding to shut down the agency. The NEA will not survive with this
The full House will consider the NEA funding issue as early as the week of July
7. Arts supporters in Congress have pledged to wage an all-out war to restore
funding for the agency during the floor debate (and the White House has
threatened a veto of the entire interior bill if arts funding is not restored).
To succeed, they need our help. The survival or elimination of the NEA is
going to depend on what the legislators are hearing from their constituents.
NEA opponents continue to be incredibly vocal, therefore it is imperative that
NEA supporters continue to make their voices heard as well.
Please CALL, FAX OR EMAIL your Representative before Tuesday, July 8. Urge your
Representative to support continued federal funding for the arts by voting to
fund the NEA at a minimum of $136 million, which is the amount the President
requested in his 1998 budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1. (Last
year’s budget was $99.5 million.) If arts advocates communicate with their
legislators at the same time, it will maximize our impact and raise our
visibility in Congress.
To find out contact information for your Representative, call the Capitol
Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s
office. In addition, a sample letter is attached for you to fax or email.
Remember, try to personalize your letter by expressing how the elimination of
the NEA will directly affect your organization and the community you serve.
Also, please mail, email or fax copies of any correspondence to Arts Presenters
(fax 202-833-1543, email smeehan) and mention to APAP that
you obtained this information through the Western Alliance. Letters from
constituents are very useful to APAP in developing legislative strategies.
This alert has been developed with information provided by the American Arts
Alliance, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the Getty Education
Institute for the Arts. Please support these organizations who safeguard the
SAMPLE LETTER TO FAX OR EMAIL
Urging Your US Representative to Support the National Endowment for the Arts
The Honorable [name]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative [name]:
On behalf of [insert organization name], we urge you to support continued
funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), at least at the level
President Clinton requested in his 1998 budget, $136 million.
This year is a particularly pivotal one for the future of the NEA. As you know,
on June 26, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly defeated an amendment to
restore NEA funding to current levels ($99.5 million). The funding stands at
only a token $10 million for the Endowment, which amounts to a 90% cut in its
budget. This is in addition to the 40% cut the NEA received in 1995. The
agency cannot survive with this budget cut.
Funding for the NEA represents just 0.01% of the federal budget. Eliminating
the agency would contribute virtually nothing towards balancing the budget.
Even though it is a small share of the federal budget, NEA funds are relied upon
by arts organizations around the country to leverage much-needed additional
funding from the private sector. Eliminating the NEA would destroy this delicate
The NEA brings the arts to communities all across America regardless of
geographic location or level of income. Eliminating the Endowment would cut off
access to the arts for thousands of people nationwide-- especially in the more
rural areas of the American West.
NEA funding also supports lower ticket prices and free performances at arts
organizations nationwide, increasing the availability of the arts to low- and
moderate-income Americans. Eliminating this funding will make participation in
the arts more difficult for many Americans and will make arts organizations more
a domain of the wealthy than ever before.
Recent research illustrates the benefits of arts education for our young people
in helping them learn more effectively. For instance, according to reports by
the College Entrance Examination Board, students with the arts in their
curriculums significantly outperform their peers who do not study the arts on
Please help the NEA continue to receive the federal dollars necessary to ensure
that the arts remain within the grasp of all Americans.
Cedric Reverand & Robert Bluestone, Advocacy Co-Chairs
Evan Kavanagh, Executive Director (EvanKav)
Western Alliance of Arts Administrators Foundation
44 Page Street, #604-B, San Francisco, CA 94102-5986
phone 415-621-4400 fax 415-621-2533
General email: Staff
Robin James, Program Mgr.: RobinJam
Stephanie Patterson, Mbrshp. Svcs. Mgr.: StephPat