Grassroots arts advocacy efforts helped preserve federal funding for the arts in the Omnibus Appropriations bill hammered out by congressional leaders over the weekend, the Americans for the Arts Action Fund reports.
The bipartisan agreement on funding for the fiscal year ending September 30 includes no cuts to the nation's arts and cultural agencies and programs and even boosts funding for a number of them. If the bill is enacted, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which the Trump administration's 2018 budget "blueprint" proposes to eliminate, will receive their original budget requests of nearly $150 million, an increase of $2 million over their FY 2016 budgets. Similarly, the Smithsonian Institution will receive $863 million, up from $840 million; the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will receive $57 million, up from $54 million; and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts will receive $2.76 million, up from $2.65 million. And the National Gallery of Art will receive $155.5 million, less than the $158.4 million requested, but still up from the $147.5 million it was allocated last year.
The Arts Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with Americans for the Arts, credits the thousands of letters, emails, phone calls, personal visits, and op-eds by its members, as well as news articles, targeted advertising, and its own research efforts. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee chair Ken Calvert (R-CA), Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Senate Cultural Caucus co-chairs Tom Udall (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME) also were instrumental in preserving and, in some cases, increasing funding for cultural agencies in the agreement. The omnibus bill will be voted on and sent to the president to sign by May 5.