With new Congressional leadership, what lies ahead for the NEA

Posted on: November 17, 2014

“Nobody is expecting Culture Wars 2.0,” writes Peggy McGlone in Friday’s (11/14) Washington Post. “But that doesn’t mean arts leaders aren’t a bit worried. Since last week’s elections gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress, there have been whispers in arts circles about a repeat of the 1994 midterm elections that carried conservatives to power and almost abolished the National Endowment for the Arts.… Arts leaders aren’t anticipating a sequel. The NEA itself is less controversial, they say, because most of its grants go to state and regional partners and arts organizations, with few dollars going directly to artists. In addition, the conversation for arts funding now focuses more on economic impact, tax receipts and community development.” In the article, Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy at the League of American Orchestras, comments, “ ‘In the (fiscal year 2016) budget process, we’ll continue to make sure that the NEA isn’t disproportionately affected by attempts to cut domestic spending.’ Many arts leaders are cautiously optimistic, thanks to the bipartisan support they’ve nurtured since the early 1990s.… ‘There is a better awareness of what the NEA does,’ says Noonan.… ‘And they have heard from people back home.’ ”

Posted November 17, 2014