Remarkable Achievement

 

 

The word is out, and it’s good news…for the arts…for a change.  It seems the NEA is here to stay.  At least that’s what we’ve been told by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) as they announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2019 funding increases for a number of federal agencies that support arts and culture. The move was announced by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and…yes…that’s correct…a Republican and a Democrat, it seems, made the announcement together. Senator Udall called it a “remarkable achievement,” and we agree. What’s remarkable of course for us is not necessarily the modest increases to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), albeit these are a most welcome outcome. The important fact is that this committee has laid to rest, at least for now, the elimination of these agencies sought by the President.

The bump in proposed funding is $2 Million for each agency, bringing their total allocations to $155 million. The issue now goes to what is called “conference,” which means that the Senate and House will work out their differences.  At the same time, Americans for the Arts will keep trying for an additional increase.  I know it’s a fool’s folly, but I couldn’t help thinking the good it might do in our country if the $21.6 Billion proposed by Homeland Security for the border wall was allocated to the arts. Just a suggestion.

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