Americans for the Arts is calling for a coordinated public relations response to educate the public and put pressure on Congress to support the arts. Please take two minutes to send a short letter to the editor of your local media outlet. They’ve provided the talking points and just ask you to customize it to your community.
As Americans for the Arts has previously reported, the House bill includes a $50 million provision for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which will act as a lifeline for many nonprofit arts organizations, and by extension, for artists as well. There is solid research to demonstrate the stimulus gains that can be provided by this funding. However, here are some examples of the negative press on the matter from publications across the country:
- “True to form, Congress has loaded the [bill] with hundreds of billions in wasteful spending. The bill includes $650 million for digital TV coupons, $140 million to study the atmosphere and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. None of these proposals would create jobs or boost our economy. They’re just old-fashioned waste” - Op-ed in the Indianapolis Star
- “The National Endowment for the Arts would get $50 million for new exhibits to deem America racist and sexist.” - Op-ed in the Norwich Bulletin
- “The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts.” - National Review Editorial
- “I just think putting people to work is more important than putting more art on the wall of some New York City gallery frequented by the elite art community.” [U.S. Rep Jack] Kingston said. “Call me a sucker for the working man.” - Congressional Quarterly report
Congress will spend the next few days completing their work on this legislation, so now is the time for arts advocates to write to their local media outlets today and fight back against threats to the funding and anti-art amendments. If you take action today, this pro-arts message will show up in news reports by early next week, when Congress is expected to be making final decisions on the legislation.