Positive News for Arts Funding Nationwide

Connexeo - 04/18/2018

With all the challenging news about funding for community arts and arts education going around, there is a lot of positive things happening that will further the arts in communities across the United States.

Perhaps the most positive nationwide report was that Congress, in the $1.3 billion omnibus spending bill approved in late March to avoid a government shutdown, added some $3 million to the National Endowment for the Arts’ allocation. The NEA’s budget for fiscal 2018 will be $152.8 million.

“This increase could not have happened without the unified, tireless, persistent work of the arts community and grassroots advocates nationwide,” Americans for the Arts CEO Robert Lynch said in a statement. “It is the second time in a row that a Republican-led Congress has reversed a request from President Trump to cut our federal cultural agencies’ funding.”

Even though the state of Florida drastically cut arts funding to $2.6 million this year – down from $25 million in 2017 and $43 million in 2014 – some Sunshine State municipalities are doing their best to make up for it.

For example, the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency has sent requests for proposals on how to use $3 million in tourist development tax money set aside for arts programs, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Meanwhile, ArtCenter/South Florida recently launched The Ellies, a $500,000 program that will award grants on $2,500-$25,000 to visual artists in the Miami-Dade County area, according to Miami New Times. Organizations and foundations are making smaller investments in arts organizations throughout the state.

Elsewhere, Fulton County, Ga. (Atlanta) has increased its arts and culture funding by $21,000 to $1.535 million, even though some county commissioners disliked the fact that the bulk of the funding benefitted the southern part of the county, as opposed to the northern part, according to Atlanta’s Neighbor News.

Also, 79 organizations in Salt Lake City are splitting $200,000 in awards from the city’s Arts, Culture and Events Fund – a figure up from the $170,000 annual average spent since the fund was established in 2012, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

In the arts education realm, The Country Music Association Foundation and the state of Tennessee have established a $1 million grant fund to expand music and arts in schools. Eight grants will be awarded in the 2018-19 academic year, according to The Tennessean. The funds, the newspaper reported, could be used for:

  • Music teachers’ professional development.
  • Arts and music supplies.
  • Materials and equipment used to address equity or expand arts outreach programs.
  • Other purposes.

The CMA Foundation has invested more than $21 million nationwide on music education since 2006.

Despite challenges, opportunities for arts funding are many. It’s just that in the face of some cutbacks, organizations may have to look a little deeper, fill out a few more grant application forms and, as mentioned in a previous blog, start adopting business marketing techniques.



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