By now you have heard the disappointing news that the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts is part of President Trump’s budget proposal. While this is only the first of many steps in the eventual passage of a federal budget, it lays out the administration’s priorities that will be negotiated with Congress.
You probably know that North Carolinians were instrumental in helping create the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1960s and support from the NEA enables our citizens to employ the arts in a variety of ways to help our state prosper. Currently, NEA support in North Carolina goes to heal Wounded Warriors, boost student creativity and performance in school and in life, and stimulate economic development through arts-focused downtown revitalization and tourism.
The North Carolina Arts Council currently receives a state appropriation of $957,300 which is used to support a number of very popular programs with obvious public value including:
- SmART Initiative, a downtown revitalization program with arts as the focus
- Junior Appalachian Musicians and Blue Ridge Music Trails
- Artist touring (cARTwheels) and residency programs in schools
- North Carolina Heritage Award and artist fellowships
In addition to the funds allocated to our agency, arts organizations in North Carolina apply directly to the NEA and receive significant funding for public programs. Over the past three fiscal years, the NEA has awarded 79 direct grants to non-profit organizations, schools and artists in North Carolina totaling over $1.8 million.
With this news about the NEA, many of you have contacted me about the best ways to monitor developments and become involved in the conversation. Here are some helpful resources if you wish to learn more:
National Endowment for the Arts
NEA grants in your region. Click here to search the NEA’s grant database by city, zip code, or congressional district
National Assembly of State Arts Agency
NASAA’s Statement on the proposed elimination of the NEA
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions. Thank you for all that you do for the arts across North Carolina.