Congress Pushes Back Against Arts Cuts

Although the Trump administration may consider the arts and humanities as nothing but waste, it appears Congress doesn’t share such a dim view. On Monday, May 1 congress reached a budget agreement that matins existing funding and proposes modest increases for 2017 (h/t @Americans4Arts).


2016 Appropriations (in millions)

Proposed funding through 9/30/17

National Endowment for the Arts



National Endowment for Humanities



Assistance for Arts Education through U.S. Dept. of Education



New ESSA Well-Rounded Education grants



Corp for Public Broadcasting



Office of Museum Services



Smithsonian Institution



U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum



Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts



U.S. Commission of Fine Arts



National Capital Arts & Cultural Affairs Program



National Gallery of Art



According to the Americans4Arts, any attempt to veto the spending bill is unlikely they warn arts supporters that funding past that point is, at best, uncertain. As a result, continuing existing efforts should continue unabated.

[The Americans4Arts] #SAVEtheNEA campaign continues to go strong to advance the FY2018 message to Congress and the White House. Please consider sending a #SAVEtheNEA message to your Congressional delegation

Adaptistration People 130If you’re curious to learn more about what arts funding accomplishes on the micro level (you didn’t think they only funneled money into large budget performing arts institutions, did you?), there’s an excellent article by Douglas Rosenthal at Who’s your Audience? that profiles four of the thousands of community arts grants distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Not only do you get a useful overview of each program, but Rosenthal draws a straight line between the funding and how the grant benefits each respective community.

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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