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It's a difference without a distinction.
In either case public money went to an individual artist - some committee
("certified", no doubt) took it upon themselves to spend money that wasn't
theirs for art that few people wanted or cared about.
I would argue against having an NEA at all, but if we must have an NEA then
its scope should be strictly limited to educational or archival purposes.
Not one penny for emerging artsts! Let them survive or fail on their own
-- Mike Reed