posted on: Thursday, March 03, 2011
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed an appropriations bill which reduces funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by $43 million.
How does this affect us in Erie County? The Pennsylvania Council of the Arts (PCA) receives just under $1M in funding from the NEA, the majority of which becomes part of the PCA’s grant pool. As that pool is reduced, the amount available for local programs and projects is also reduced. In addition, several Erie County organizations including the Erie Playhouse, Erie Art Museum and the Erie Philharmonic have received direct funding from the NEA.
The U.S. House and Senate also just passed the Continuing Resolution which eliminates the Department of Education’s $40 million Arts in Education program. This program funds a large number of arts education activities across in the country, including ArtsErie’s model arts in education program that is integrating the arts into the core curriculum at elementary schools in Union City, Cambridge Springs and Meadville, all schools in high poverty areas. This program provides extensive teacher training and work for artists. It is unclear at the moment of how a short-term CR might impact a program that currently has over 50 active multi-year grants in place around the country. However, this can be fixed in the upcoming long-term CR that Congress and the White House are currently negotiating.
It is vitally important that the arts community mobilizes to restore this important Arts in Education program, as well as restore the cuts previously made in the House to the National Endowment for the Arts, as the final FY2011 budget is considered in the coming days.
PLEASE, take a few moments to write Congress, expressing your concern that these cuts will negatively impact Erie County. Share that these valuable programs create jobs, provide an economic benefit to our community and enable access to the arts. PLEASE encourage your board members and your audiences to do the same.