Full U.S. House Considering Amendment to Further Cut NEA

Posted by Narric Rome On July - 28 - 2011

For an update on the Walberg amendment to H.R. 2584, click here!

Last night, during consideration of H.R. 2584, the House Interior Appropriations bill, debate was completed on an amendment by Rep. Tim Walberg’s (MI) to cut $10.6 million more from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Interior Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (ID) gave strong support for the agency and the $135 million appropriation, urging defeat of this amendment. Thanks to coordination by the Congressional Arts Caucus, Reps. Jim Moran (VA), Louise Slaughter (NY), David Cicilline (RI), Lynn Woolsey (CA), John Yarmuth (KY), Rush Holt (NJ), Bobby Scott (VA), and Betty McCollum (MN) all gave effective and passionate speeches of support in opposing this amendment.

Today, the House will vote on the Walberg amendment. The exact timing of the vote has not yet been decided since it will part of a bloc of votes held over from yesterday’s debate.

Americans for the Arts is coordinating with Congressional Arts Caucus staff to defeat the Walberg amendment and we will update you when further action takes place.

There is still time to contact your House member in support of NEA funding.

i3 Grantee Lessons: Studio in a School

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On July - 22 - 2011

Last year, Arts Achieve: Impacting Student Success in the Arts, won the distinction of being one of the forty-nine winners of the Investing in Innovation competition. Project applicant Studio in a School, along with project partners Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, ArtsConnection, Inc., 92nd Street Y / Harkness Dance Center, Dance Education Laboratory, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and the New York City Department of Education, were the recipients of this $4.4 million, 5-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Reviewers that scored this grant application gave it high marks because they felt that creating high-quality student assessments in the arts would improve arts education experiences for students, create collaborative experiences for teachers and arts professionals, and would benefit students for years to come.

One of the reviewers of this application felt that high quality arts assessments are greatly needed in today’s schools, and the use of assessments can help the arts to remain a strong part of the curriculum. Another reviewer commented that the project was highly innovative because it 1) had a strong base of community support 2) utilized professional learning communities 3) connected to the new common core standards; and 4) incorporated the use of technology for disseminating units of study, assessments, PD materials, and toolkits. Read the rest of this entry »

NEA Funding Measure Facing U.S. House Floor Vote

Posted by Natalie Shoop On July - 22 - 2011

As early as next Monday, the full U.S. House of Representatives will vote on FY 2012 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee took the first step in the budget process and passed the Interior Appropriations bill, which proposes to fund the NEA at $135 million for FY 2012. If enacted, this $20 million cut would be the deepest to the NEA in 16 years.

Now, this legislation heads to the next step in the funding process, the House floor, where it could face amendments to increase the cut even deeper or eliminate the NEA altogether.

A similar scenario happened in debates earlier this year over FY 2011 funding, and an amendment to cut the NEA by an additional $20 million succeeded by a slim margin of 8 votes.

Help us reverse this gap by sending a message to your representative today.

Los Angeles Embodies Spirit of ‘Our Town’

Posted by Olga Garay-English On July - 19 - 2011

Olga Garay

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is pleased to announce that we have received an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), one of only 51 grants awarded nationwide.

DCA will receive a $250,000 award, the largest grant amount available, to support the design of the Watts Historic Train Station Visitors Center and Artist Pathways. Principal partners are the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), as well as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which is already providing preservation services for the Watts Towers.

Our Town is the NEA’s new leadership initiative focused on creative placemaking projects. In creative placemaking, partners from both public and private sectors come together to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Read the rest of this entry »

i3 Grantee Lessons: District 75, New York City

Posted by Peggy Ryan On July - 15 - 2011

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation competition awarded District 75 (New York City’s special education district) and Manhattan New Music Project (MNMP), a $4.6 million, five-year grant to develop and implement Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE).

EASE is a professional development program designed to improve student achievement in the areas of communication, socialization, academic learning, and arts proficiency through integrated, arts-based approaches.

EASE gives teachers tools and experience with arts-based instruction, and participating teachers learn skills and strategies across multiple arts disciplines (music, dance, visual arts, and theater) in order to integrate the arts into classroom instruction. This makes learning more accessible to special education students who struggle with more conventional instructional approaches. Read the rest of this entry »

i3 Grantee Lessons: Beaverton School District

Posted by Peggy Ryan On July - 15 - 2011

In an effort to bring Arts for Learning Lessons to 12,850 Beaverton School District (BSD) students in grades 3-5, the Beaverton School District, with project partners University of Washington, Young Audiences Arts for Learning, and Young Audiences of Oregon & Washington, was awarded a $4 million, five-year grant in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation fund.

Arts for Learning (A4L) is a literacy program that uses the creativity of the arts to raise student achievement in reading and writing, and to develop learning and life skills. A4L lessons had been implemented in classrooms around the country prior to the Beaverton School District’s i3 grant application, with the added resource of some independent evaluations of these existing lessons. Read the rest of this entry »

Narric Rome

Many Americans for the Arts members and friends may be most familiar with the grant programs of the National Endowment for the Arts, which distributes about 2,400 grants annually to arts organizations. But less familiar are the grants located at other federal agencies that represent a more non-traditional source of funding that can benefit arts organizations as well.

Over the past few years we’ve tried to capture some of these non-traditional sources by providing Federal Resource Guides that examine different agencies and grant programs that are either hidden deep in the bureaucracy, or appear to be so off topic that any time spent investigating would be a fool’s errand.

Currently there are two federal programs at the U.S. Department of Education that are relatively new and present clear and immediate possibilities for the right approach in providing support for the arts in an educational setting. Read the rest of this entry »

Full House Committee Approves $20 Million Cut for NEA

Posted by Gladstone Payton On July - 13 - 2011

Last night, the full House Appropriations Committee passed their initial FY2012 Interior Department funding bill by a vote of 28-18.

This legislation contains a $20 million cut for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), passed last week by the Subcommittee, from FY2011’s $155 million level.

The NEA was not mentioned specifically during the debate which largely centered around changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority as that agency’s funding is being cut most dramatically and controversially in this bill.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Moran said the following in his opening statement:

“This bill is about more than our natural resources and the environment, and while the cultural activities and institutions are a small portion of the bill they are a vital part of our communities and enhance our quality of life.” Read the rest of this entry »

NEA Takes 13 Percent Cut in FY 2012 House Budget Bill

Posted by Tim Mikulski On July - 8 - 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Interior Subcommittee approved a measure that sets next year’s initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $135 million.

That amount is a $20 million reduction as compared with this fiscal year’s budget, and it would be the deepest cut to the agency in 16 years.

To make matters worse, the 13 percent cut for both the NEA and National Endowment for the Humanities is much more severe than the 7 percent cut to the overall Interior Appropriations bill.

It is expected that the full House Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation next Tuesday and it could be sent to the full House Floor for a vote before the August recess begins.

Stay tuned to ARTSblog for more information as the budget process moves forward and please consider taking two minutes to contact your Members of Congress about this issue.

The Dutch Initiate a Colorful Stand for the Arts (from Arts Watch)

Posted by Anette Shirinian On July - 6 - 2011

An example of one Artbomb project.

On June 24, clouds of colorful smoke exploded throughout various arts locations across the globe in protest against the alarming budget cuts facing arts communities worldwide.

After the Dutch government proposed to cut nearly 40 percent of arts and cultural funding, arts activists in the Netherlands decided to call attention to this viral issue within the larger international community. They initiated Artbomb, a “peaceful art intervention” calling upon all individuals to set off bombs of colored smoke at their local arts and culture centers.

All participants were asked to submit their documentation to Artbomb’s official website as “a token of solidarity and a symbol of strength” for the world to see.

As written in their press release, “this visual act will be a sign of resistance against the growing disdain for the arts within societies and governments worldwide, and a sign of support for colleagues who face major cutbacks.” Read the rest of this entry »

Curation and Controversy at the Smithsonian

Posted by Graham Dunstan On April - 29 - 2011

"Hide/Seek" catalogue from the National Portrait Gallery

“Above all I wanted to keep the exhibition open. I wanted to protect the Smithsonian in its entirety,” said Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution earlier this week at the symposium Flashpoints and Faultlines: Museum Curation and Controversy.

Clough was specifically addressing last year’s controversy over pulling David Wojnarowicz’s film A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit—a show demonstrating the influence of gays and lesbians in modern American portraiture.

The Smithsonian’s day-and-a-half symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art focused on the role of the curator and museum officials in curating and handling topics that could be controversial.

My personal hope as I went into the symposium Tuesday night was that Clough would say something along the lines of: If I had known what I know now I would have tried to find a different way of addressing the controversy. But it came as no surprise to me or the 100+ art enthusiasts, Smithsonian employees, reporters, and others who had gathered when he didn’t apologize for removing Wojnarowicz’s film or even try to excuse his decision. Read the rest of this entry »