Americans For The Arts Taking Action Against NEA Cuts

Kudos to Americans for the Arts and their recent efforts to push back against growing momentum by the Republican Study Committee for a proposal to drastically cut National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) funding for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year…

Their first email alert went out on 2/10/2011 urging their supporters to contact their respective Senators and House Representative and by the next day, a second alert informed that the proposed cuts had nearly doubled from $12 million to $22.5 million. The latter alert reports “It is quite possible these members of the Republican Study Committee will offer amendments to fully eliminate the NEA during floor consideration.” However, there are no citations or details behind why they believe this might happen.

Americans for the Arts provides additional details on the cuts via their news page as well as an easy to use template that automatically locates your representatives and allows you to customize form letter content.

After spending so much time watching the Detroit Symphony Orchestra labor dispute and what some might consider defeatist public statements from service organizations within the field, it is nice to see some fire from an arts advocacy group as they refuse to go gentle into that goodnight.

The Arts Action letter template is as easy to use as they say and will probably take you less time than they estimate unless you want to customize the content. For some fascinating related content, check out a pair of articles written by my blog neighbor, conductor Bill Eddins: Kill The NEA and KILL THE NEA (Redux)!!!

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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0 thoughts on “Americans For The Arts Taking Action Against NEA Cuts”

  1. So sorry to be a contrarian here, but….

    The White House projects (with its proposed cuts and new taxes) the deficit this fiscal year will reach $1.65 TRILLION.

    We simply cannot pay for what we cannot afford unless we print more money ($0.6 TRILLION more by May)and even that will not be enough. This inevitable inflationary practice represents an additional tax on everybody who earns money in dollars.

    Not only can we not afford the NEA and NEH and PBS (which are peanuts, really), we cannot and should not afford the $100 billion annually to the Department of Education which has had no impact in the more than 4 decades of its existence on standard test scores.

    What I would really like to see however is elimination of the IRS as a tool of rewarding one sort of economic behavior over another. Actually, elimination of the IRS entirely while maintaining or increasing federal revenues is not that far-fetched. We, as a nation, spend a lot of time and treasure trying to stay on the right side of almost 70,000 pages of tax regulations. (If you were proposing a new tax system today, would you really propose what we have now?)

    The military budget is bloated too, largely the result of mission creep in its procurement policies and, in some cases, ridiculous requirements. The $700 mil-spec-ed toilet seat is still with us.

    And for what reason are we paying elected officials retirement benefits at all? This was originally envisioned to be temporary service, not a career that requires multi-millions in campaign donations to keep one’s position. May we should select our representatives by lot, like we do jury duty. The results could not be worse, and the expense and fraud much less.

    Sorry for the rant, but I think this merry-go-round ride is over. To survive as a nation devoted to individual freedom, we have more important things to worry about than the NEA.

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Americans For The Arts Taking Action Against NEA Cuts