Members of the House and Senate conference committee completed their negotiations of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with $50 million designated to assist the nation’s arts and cultural workforce through funding to the National Endowment for the Arts. The bill proceeds next to both the House and the Senate floors for final votes before being sent to the president for signing into law.
NEA Acting Chairman Patrice Walker Powell said,
"On behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, I am pleased that the agency has garnered the confidence of members of Congress to participate in addressing this national economic crisis. With the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the agency is honored to serve the American people by supporting its cultural workforce and businesses.
"The arts and culture industry is a viable sector of the economy. Its employees pay taxes and mortgages as members of the American workforce and are being profoundly impacted by the economic downturn."
The agency is working to finalize guidelines and procedures based on current grant-making practices and will make awards that result in job retention. To understand how grants awarded by the Arts Endowment will have a stimulative effect, it is important to note that virtually all NEA-supported arts projects require the efforts of professionals -- whether through direct employment or contracts -- to carry out the work.
For example, by awarding grants to arts education programs, the NEA can help grantees employ teaching artists and administrators. Through grants to art festivals, the NEA can help the festival employ staff to manage the event and artists to perform or exhibit there. By funding new productions, the NEA can help an arts organization provide work for carpenters, electricians, caterers, ushers, custodians, lighting designers, seamstresses, parking attendants and others as well as artists.
More information will be available at the NEA web site, www.arts.gov in the next several days.
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