National Endowment for the Arts

Art Prints

The National Endowment for the Arts recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of supporting the arts in America.

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

The current regime in Washington has budget cutting fever so its important to understand this program that represents .002 percent of the Federal budget or approximately $150 million a year or $6 per citizen of the USA.

In comparison the Federal Government has disbursed over $245 billion bailing out banks and financial institutions. The National Science Foundation’s annual budget sits around the $7 billion mark, despite the fact that research shows art studies close the gap between high- and low-income students and not only improve numerical skills but promote creativity and social development.

In comparison Germany’s cultural budget was approximately $1.63 billion USD in 2013. Or roughly $20 per citizen.

“We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Freedom is like that. It’s like air. When you have it, you don’t notice it. ”

― Boris Yeltsin

Before the NEA disappears under the pen of the budget cutters, its important to know what we will be losing in our cultural landscape.  You can read more about the National Endowment for the Arts at its website and read its annual report which gives details on the types of grants it awards to artists and institutions that support the arts in America.