More On NEA Advocacy

by Laurie Baskin

in Advocacy

Dear Colleagues,

It is vitally important that you actively participate in advocacy this week regarding the NEA. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives could approve a mid-year (FY11) cut to the NEA of at least $22.5 million. But we expect attempts to even more severely cut or zero the Agency. Send an email to your Member of Congress now.

TCG conducts advocacy efforts with the Performing Arts Alliance—when you receive an Action Alert, please respond. (sign up here if you do not already receive these alerts.)

An Action Alert is not the same as an online petition—it’s more effective because your message is sent directly to your elected officials! It’s quick and easy—just click take action, fill in your name and contact info, personalize the letter, and click submit.

On February 1, the Alliance sent an Action Alert to thousands of people—and from the TCG list, only 93 people sent emails to their Members of Congress. That’s not enough! Please don’t assume that someone else will respond! We are looking for thousands of messages going to the Hill!

If your Member of Congress is newly elected (a Freshman), it is important to educate him/her about the value and impact of your theatre and any federal funding. If your Member of Congress is on the Appropriations Committee or is in the Republican majority and has shown some support for the arts in the past, it is essential to contact them, as constituents, and to tell them that you care about the NEA and why!

Through direct grants and support to state arts agencies, the NEA awards more than 2,000 grants each year to nonprofit performing arts organizations. I invite you to share your stories of the impact NEA funding has had on your theatre and your community – but not at the expense of taking a moment to contact your elected officials! This is the time to write op eds and to stir up community support for the NEA! Please, friends and colleagues, this week we may see an all-out attack on our cultural agencies. Let’s not be a silent sector. What we contribute is extremely important and meaningful to so many people. Tell your stories to your elected officials today.

As President Lyndon Johnson said at the founding of the NEA, “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Laurie Baskin
Director of Government & Education Programs

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  • Artssupporter

    Maybe the reason for the poor response on Feb 1 is that more and more Americans are becoming aware of the serious financial situation that the federal government is in. It’s nice to be an advocate for the causes the causes we support. However if every adocate gets their desires our financial situation will continue to get worse rather than inprove. I think it’s more realistic for the the arts to rely more on private sector support rather than sustaining the millions of dollars to the NEA and similar government agencies.

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