Advocacy

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The arts are an essential part of our lives. The arts help us connect to one another, improve our quality of life, and create bridges to understanding amongst divergent points of view. The arts are a vital part of our economy and contribute to the individual identies of cities and local neighborhoods.

The purpose of this page is to give you updates on local and national trends in the arts and to give you the tools you need to communicate the importance of the arts in your community. Never miss an opportunity to show your support for the arts. 


Recent updates:

October 9, 2019: Help Secure Final 2020 Pro-Arts Funding

October 9, 2019: Help Secure Final 2020 Pro-Arts Funding

The fall legislative season has begun in Congress. While fiscal year (FY) 2020 began on Oct. 1, Congress must still pass the 12 appropriations to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2020. The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) through Nov. 21.

As they work out these details, please take two minutes to send a message to your Senators to call on their support in securing several appropriations items that were proposed in earlier legislation.

This year we've seen substantial pro-arts support in five different appropriations bills, and now is the best time to call on Congress to include these pro-arts funding levels in their final legislation. This includes:
  • Interior bill—with an increase of $12.5 million in National Endowment for the Arts funding
  • Labor, Health, Education bill—with an increase of $6 million for arts education grant funds, and language addressing the need for a federal arts report card
  • Defense Department bill—includes language supporting creative arts therapies for service members
  • Veterans Department bill—includes $5 million in funding and language supporting creative arts therapies for veterans
  • Justice Department bill—support arts-specific intervention strategies for juvenile justice programs

Thank you for taking action to support these end-of-year funding priorities. Take action today by sending your Senators a customizable advocacy message.

September 25, 2019: The U.S. Senate Number is in for NEA funding...

September 25, 2019: The U.S. Senate Number is in for NEA funding...

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee recommended $157 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY 2020. While this is a $2 million increase from the current FY 2019 number, it is $10.5 million less than what the U.S. House approved in May and what advocates asked for on Arts Advocacy Day ($167.5 million). This number has advanced to the full U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and it will be voted on tomorrow by that full committee.

Since the funding levels being approved by the U.S. Senate are different than the U.S. House, they will have to be reconciled in a conference later this year. Happily, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House numbers were reached with bipartisan support, which may be advantageous in the final conference negotiations.

Will you take action now and contact your U.S. Senators? Take two minutes now to request that the higher number approved by the U.S. House is also adopted by the U.S. Senate.

July 26, 2019: Groundbreaking Arts Funding for Servicemembers, Veterans, and Juvenile Justice

July 26, 2019: Groundbreaking Arts Funding for Servicemembers, Veterans, and Juvenile Justice

As you may have seen in this week's headlines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a two-year budget agreement that will pave the way for federal appropriations bills to be completed later this fall. Without this budget agreement in place, it was unlikely we'd see any of the $12.5 million increase included in a House bill for the National Endowment for the Arts, or the $6 million increase for arts education.

In addition, there's even more good news. Following a year of strategic lobbying, Americans for the Arts can now confirm the following additional appropriations items have been approved by the House:

  • The Defense Department appropriations bill includes language, for the first time, to increase support for creative arts therapists to treat servicemembers with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and psychological health conditions. Click here to tell your Senators to support this groundbreaking provision for servicemembers and their families.
  • The Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, also for the first time, dedicates $5 million to treat veterans with TBI and psychological health conditions through their Whole Health Initiative. Take two minutes now to tell your Senators to support this provision to increase VA creative arts therapy programs.
  • The Justice Department appropriations bill calls on the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention to include arts-based juvenile justice programs among its strategies. Ask your Senators to increase arts interventions in juvenile justice programs.
Americans for the Arts is working every day to ensure that federal lawmakers understand that the arts impact these policy areas in communities across nation. As Congress reaches their summer recess, we are pursuing more pro-arts legislative provisions than ever before. This diverse policy agenda is made possible by an active Congressional Arts Caucus and Senate Cultural Caucus, a growing coalition of pro-arts organizations, and motivated grassroots advocates in every state

But none of these advances will be realized unless the Senate concurs with the House provisions. As the appropriations process shifts to the U.S. Senate this summer and fall, take two minutes now to contact your U.S. Senators to urge them to appropriate additional funding for these important arts programs. Click the links below to get started!

Thank you for your advocacy!

June 26, 2019: House Passes NEA/NEH Funding Increase!

June 26, 2019: House Passes NEA/NEH Funding Increase!

Yesterday, the U.S. House strongly rejected President Trump's budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by approving $167.5 million in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020! This is an increase for both agencies of $12.5 million over the FY 2019 funding level of $155 million.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for possible consideration (the Senate may also take up their own version of this appropriations bill).

Why Is This Important?
This is the third year in a row that the Trump administration has proposed a termination of both the NEA and the NEH in his budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. The past two years, Congress has rejected this request and moderately increased funding for the cultural agencies. This year, the House is sending an even stronger message of the importance of arts funding by increasing the appropriation by $12.5 million.

The funding increase matches the 2019 Arts Advocacy Day ask, which would help broaden access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States. This also follows public witness testimony Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch gave before the Interior Subcommittee in February, asking for the cultural agencies to be funded at $167.5 million, as well as a Dear Colleague letter circulated by Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY)--asking for the same amount of funding for the NEA and NEH--signed by a record-number (184) of members of Congress.

We are hopeful that the Senate will follow the House's lead in expanding funding for the NEA and NEH. We'll be keeping close watch over every step of the appropriations process in case any threatening actions surface. Stay tuned for more updates after the July 4th recess!

-From Americans for the Arts

May 17, 2019: House Democrats proposed boosting the budgets of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities

May 17, 2019: House Democrats proposed boosting the budgets of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities

In the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump proposing to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the 2020 federal budget he released earlier this year, House Democrats unveiled a bill on Tuesday that would add funding to both agencies.

The Democrats’ proposal would give both the NEA and the NEH $167.5 million in 2020, an increase of $12.5 million over 2019. A House Committee on Appropriations press release on Tuesday stated that the new bill “rejects the President’s budget request proposal to eliminate the Agencies.”

The bill would also add $2.2 million to the budget of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, whereas Trump proposed cutting the Kennedy Center's budget by $1.6 million. Finally, Democrats proposed increasing funding for the Smithsonian Institution and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, two further institutions that Trump had hoped to cut.

via artsy.net

Read more

May 15, 2019: Interior Subcommittee Passes NEA Funding Increase

May 15, 2019: Interior Subcommittee Passes NEA Funding Increase

Earlier today, the U.S House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee strongly rejected President Trump's budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by appropriating $167.5 million in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020! This is an increase for both agencies of $12.5 million over the FY 2019 funding level of $155 million.

We expect that the full U.S. House Appropriations Committee will consider this bill in the coming weeks and action on the House floor will take place sometime in June.

Why Is This Important?

This is the third year in a row that President Trump has proposed a termination of both the NEA and the NEH in his budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. The past two years, Congress has rejected this request and moderately increased funding for the cultural agencies. This year, the House Interior Subcommittee is sending an even stronger message of the importance of arts funding by increasing the appropriation by $12.5 million.

This funding increase matches the 2019 Arts Advocacy Day ask, which would help broaden access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States. This also follows public witness testimony Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch gave before the Interior Subcommittee in February, asking for the cultural agencies to be funded at $167.5 million, as well as a Dear Colleague letter circulated by Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY)--asking for the same amount of funding for the NEA and NEH--signed by a record-number (184) of members of Congress.

We are hopeful that the full U.S. House and then the U.S. Senate will follow the Subcommittee's lead in expanding funding for the NEA and NEH. We'll be keeping close watch over every step of the appropriations process in case any threatening amendments surface. Stay tuned for more updates!

-From Americans for the Arts

March 13, 2019: Take Two Key Arts Advocacy Actions Today

March 13, 2019: Take Two Key Arts Advocacy Actions Today

On March 4-5, more than 500 arts advocates gathered in Washington, DC, for the 32nd annual National Arts Action Summit! After a full day of legislative and advocacy training, attendees from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico took to Capitol Hill on Arts Advocacy Day to meet with members of Congress and their staff. Attendees discussed funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), arts education, charitable giving, and much more. Be sure to check out the online version of the Congressional Arts Handbook, which includes all of Americans for the Arts' 2019 legislative issue briefs, arts support records, and the latest facts and figures to make your case.

This week, President Donald Trump released his the top-line priorities for the FY 2020 budget. This "skinny budget" did not mention the cultural agencies, but the full budget should be released sometime next week. We anticipate President Trump's full FY 2020 budget to once again call for the elimination of the NEA, NEH, and other cultural agencies and will report all the details when the full budget is released. However, the calls for elimination in FY 2018 and 2019 were soundly defeated in a bipartisan manner by Congress.

As the FY 2020 appropriations process gets underway, take a moment now to urge your members of Congress to fund the NEA at $167.5 million via a letter being circulated by Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Last year's letter set a new record for signatories.

Also on Arts Advocacy Day, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) reintroduced legislation in the U.S. Senate and House to strengthen the creative economy. Entitled the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act, the bill aims to better support our nation's creative economy. Ask your elected officials to sign on as a co-sponsor of this important legislation today.

Whether you're on Capitol Hill or at home, you can be an arts advocate! Take time today to call on your elected leaders to support the arts!

-From Americans for the Arts

February 15, 2019: Success! NEA Gets $155 Million!

February 15, 2019: Success! NEA Gets $155 Million!

Finished! Almost two months beyond the expected delivery date, the U.S. Congress and President Trump have completed their work on FY 2019 federal appropriations.

Today, President Trump signed legislation that included a $155 million funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts. This amount, a $2 million increase over last year, was made possible by House and Senate appropriations committees on a bipartisan basis throughout the appropriations cycle last year, even surviving a vote on the House floor to cut the agency by 15%. That vote failed by a 183-vote margin.

Final approval of the FY 2019 appropriations bills was delayed due to a partial government shutdown and border security negotiations.

Looking forward, a new Congress has begun and Americans for the Arts is preparing for the National Arts Action Summit and Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill (March 4-5). At the Summit, hundreds of grassroots arts advocates will be putting forward a new funding request to Congress for the NEA at $167.5 million, in addition to a dozen other policy requests covering tax, education, technology, and the creative economy.

-From Americans for the Arts

October 1, 2018: Congress passes large funding bill

October 1, 2018: Congress passes large funding bill

Congress was able to pass a large funding bill on September 28th to avoid a federal government shutdown, which included final FY’19 funding for the military and several education-based agencies. The bill also included temporary funding in the form of a Continuing Resolution (C/R) for the balance of the federal government’s agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts. The C/R will provide flat funding at FY’18 levels temporarily until December 7, 2018, so that Congress has enough time to pass these remaining bills at hopefully the higher proposed FY’19 levels.

Even if there are major shifts in party control following the midterm elections, newly elected members will not be sworn into office until January 2019. However, we would still anticipate disruption in the legislative timeline and process.

-From Americans for the Arts

September 17, 2018: Arts Action Fund’s 2018 Congressional Arts Report Card

September 17, 2018: Arts Action Fund’s 2018 Congressional Arts Report Card

Election Day is November 6th and early voting in some states begins as early as late September. This year’s important federal midterm elections will see all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate up for election. Americans for the Arts has just released the Arts Action Fund’s 2018 Congressional Arts Report Card, your guide to voting for the arts.

This Report Card is a one-stop guide to learn if members of your Congressional delegation support (or not support) the arts and arts education prior to casting your vote. An impressive 148 House members received an A or A+ grade in our Report Card with a total of 307 House members receiving passing grades. On the Senate side, the majority of Senators (55) received a pro-arts Thumbs Up.

-From Americans for the Arts

August 1, 2018: Senate passes Interior Appropriations bill

August 1, 2018: Senate passes Interior Appropriations bill

The U.S. Senate has just passed their Interior Appropriations bill for FY 2019 including $155 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities! U.S. Senate Interior Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expressed her full support for the NEA and NEH this morning on the Senate floor ensuring "that the National Endowment[s] for the Arts and Humanities receives the level of support that I believe is important."

Today's Senate vote comes after the U.S. House passed their version of the Interior Appropriations bill a few weeks ago which also included $155 million for both the NEA and NEH. These approved appropriations bills may then go to a bicameral conference in September where select U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives would negotiate the differences in the two bills and then send the final version to the President, hopefully to be signed into law. Congress hasn't progressed this quickly and efficiently through an Appropriations season since 2000.

-From Americans for the Arts

November 20, 2017: U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee releases long-awaited bill to fund NEA

November 20, 2017: U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee releases long-awaited bill to fund NEA

Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee finally released their long-awaited bill to fund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The committee proposes to maintain current funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) of $150 million for FY 2018! A large thanks goes to Chairman Lisa Murkowki (R-AK) and Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM) for their support throughout the year!

We have been waiting for this action since the Administration’s budget proposal was initially released back in March. Now, after eight months of your key advocacy work, today is a defining day.
  • Both the full U.S. House and the Senate Appropriations Committee have solidly rejected the Administration’s call for termination of our nation’s cultural agencies.
  • More than 187,000 messages have been sent to elected representatives in support of the NEA, reaching every congressional office (U.S. House and U.S. Senate). Thank you for being part of this #SAVEtheNEA campaign.
What Happens Next
The U.S. House and U.S. Senate recommended different funding levels. Congress has until December 8th to agree on funding levels for the federal government, including the NEA. Right now, current funding ($150 million) is in place until that deadline. The NEA also continues to accept grant applications for FY 2018 at their usual deadlines and will operate as usual until a new budget is enacted by Congress. -From Americans for the Arts


Arts as an Economic Driver

Start with Art 0192foradvocacyAccording to the Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity V study, the non-profit arts and cultural industry in America generate $166.3 billion dollars annually and employ 4.6 million Americans. These jobs generate $96.07 billion in annual household income and contribute $27.54 billion in Local, State, and Federal government revenue. While these national numbers are staggering, the impact the arts have on Indianapolis is equally impressive. Here are just a few of the number to know:

 

Randy Cohen, VP for Research & Policy at Americans for the Arts, Keynote for Start with Art 2018

$440 Million

In Indianapolis, the non-profit arts sector has an annual economic impact of $440,530,109.

14,729

The arts in Indianapolis support 14,729 full-time equivalent jobs and contribute $361,653,000 in annual household income.

$47.7 Million

The arts in Indianapolis generate $47,733,000 in annual revenue to Federal and State government.

Thanks to the Americans for the Arts, we are able to understand the importance of the arts to the American economy. These facts and figures come from the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study. Visit the AEP5 website to learn more. 


The following arts organizations in central Indiana have received funding from the NEA:

Actors Theatre of Indiana
American Pianists Association
ArtMix
Arts Council of Indianapolis
Arts for Learning
Big Car
Center for the Performing Arts
Dance Kaleidoscope
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre
Harrison Center for the Arts
Heartland Film
Indiana Arts Commission
Indiana Repertory Theatre
Indianapolis Art Center
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Indianapolis Children's Choir
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Indianapolis Opera
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Madame Walker Theatre Center
Music for All
Phoenix Theatre

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Indiana Arts Commission
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Lilly
Clowes Charitable Foundation