California Arts Council

State of California

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Save the NEA: California Resource Center

Published: 03-16-2017

On March 16, 2017, President Trump submitted his administration's first budget request to Congress. The proposal calls for an elimination of all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in fiscal year 2018. 
If this budget is enacted, the elimination of the NEA would have dire consequences for every state, including California. For a synopsis of what's at stake, please see The National Assembly of State Arts Agency's Statement on Proposed Elimination of the NEAClick here to read a statement from Jane Chu, Chairman of the NEA.

The impact of the NEA is essential, and wide-reaching. Each $1 in NEA grant funds leverages another $9 from other public and private sources. The grants and programs that the NEA administers are powerful examples of how the arts are a vital part of our everyday lives. This power can be seen in communities across the nation, and California is no exception. Yet, the NEA's $148 million budget represents just 0.004% of the federal budget, less than 1/2 of one hundredth of one percent.

In fiscal year 2016, the NEA awarded $8.6 million in direct grants to California organizations. This included $1.1 million granted directly to the California Arts Council for our annual state partnership agreement. These critical funds are used in conjunction with state legislative dollars to support grants and services across the entire state. In this current fiscal year, the California Arts Council will award $15 million in direct grants to California organizations, which includes $6.8 million in one-time state funding. Grants and services supported by NEA and state funds provide access to the arts, employment, arts education, community well-being, and cultural heritage in communities of all sizes across our state.

It is important to be reminded at this time that the arts have benefited from bipartisan support for many decades. This is true in California and nationally. In fact, under our last Republican president, appropriations to the NEA increased by $40 million, while the Republican Party controlled both chambers of Congress for four of those eight years. Leaders from all political parties can be engaged in supporting, preserving, and even increasing our country's investment in culture and the arts.

The proposed White House Budget is the first -- not the final -- step in the FY 2018 appropriations process. The President's request outlines his administration's policy priorities. However, Congress holds the constitutional authority to appropriate funds to federal agencies. You can use your voice to tell Congress that elimination of or radical reductions to the NEA are unacceptable to taxpayers. 

Here are some resources to help you respond right now:

Support local and national arts advocacy efforts by contacting your House and Senate delegations. Join arts advocates in asking Congress to oppose the President's request and provide full funding for the NEA.

   - National: Americans for the Arts Action Center - Write Your Representative:

   - Local: CA Delegates are hand delivering a letter of support with signatures from our state advocates on Tuesday, March 21. If you have not already signed, consider adding your name today.

  •   California is represented on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee by committee Chairman, U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert of California's 42nd District in Riverside County.

  •   California is represented on the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Learn more about the NEA grants in your region. Click here to search the NEA's grant database by city, zip code, or congressional district.

  •   40% of the grant dollars appropriated to the NEA go to states and regions. These funds address state priorities. Rural and low-income areas would be disproportionally hurt by the elimination of the agency.

Use your social media channels to share resources from local and national arts and  arts advocacy organizations. Consider including any of the following hashtags: #ArtsVote, #SaveTheNEA, #StandfortheArts and tag your elected officials.

   - Fact vs. Fiction: Government Arts Funding:

  -  Five Essential Arts Arguments:

  - CA Assembly Speaker and CA Arts Council Chair Joint Letter opposing cuts to the NEA:

  - Americans for the Arts - Arts Mobilization Center:

  - If you lead an arts organization, join Ovation's #StandfortheArts, a national campaign to raise awareness, protect access and encourage action on behalf of the arts and culture.

This page will be updated regularly as new information and resources become available.