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    Posted May 12, 2009

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Take Action To Support NEA, Arts/Education Funding In Obama Budget

President Obama today released the final details of his FY 2010 budget request to Congress which includes the nationís cultural agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS), and the Department of Educationís Arts in Education program. Write your members of Congress and tell them to support funding for these cultural agencies.

As Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch noted in a press statement, "The president's proposed funding of $161 million would take the NEA to its highest funding level in 15 years and will help continue the upward trend of budgetary growth that Congress established several years ago. In contrast to the previous administration, this year's budget includes funding for the Arts in Education program at the Department of Education at $38.16 million. We hope that Congress will build on these initial budget requests to secure even higher funding levels to address the needs of the arts and arts education community."

On Arts Advocacy Day, artists Wynton Marsalis, Linda Ronstadt and Josh Groban joined Americans for the Arts and over 550 arts advocates from around the country to testify on Capitol Hill and to meet with congressional leaders to request $200 million for the NEA and $53 million for arts education. These requests are just some of the legislative priorities for the nonprofit arts community in 2009.

A breakdown of the Presidentís budget request is as follows:

Federally Funded Arts Program FY 2009 Enacted Appropriations (in millions) FY 2010 Presidentís Budget Request (in millions)
National Endowment for the Arts $155 $161
National Endowment for the Humanities $155 $161
Institute of Museum and Library Services $274.8* $266
U.S. Dept. of Educationís Arts in Education $38.1 $38.1
*includes $11 million in Congressional earmarks

Next Steps
As you know, the Presidentís budget is the first step in the appropriations process. While it serves as an important framework, Congress has the power to set its own priorities and change these funding levels. Thatís where you come in.

Arts advocates can make their voices heard by writing their members of Congress and urging them to support funding for arts and culture through the NEA and increase funding for arts in education programs. We have provided you with a customizable letter, as well as several talking points to help you craft your message. We recommend you add your own thoughts and stories about why the arts are important to you and your community.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. Play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today -- it's free and simple.

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