Teresa’s Weekly Update: NEA Edition

by Teresa Eyring

in Weekly Update

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Happy almost Valentine’s Day! I’d like to call your attention to a few items this week. I ask that you be on the lookout for Action Alerts from the Performing Arts Alliance regarding funding for the NEA. Not only has the Republican Study Committee called for the elimination of the Agency, but yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee called for a $12 million cut in the current (FY11) year. When you see these Action Alerts, please send an email to your Members of Congress and please ask your boards, staffs and audiences to do the same. We ALL need to mobilize to preserve federal funding for the arts!
I am in touch directly with the NEA regarding the ongoing conversation about “supply and demand” vis-à-vis arts organizations. I want to share with you the letter I sent to Chairman Rocco Landesman last Friday. It explains TCG’s thinking on the topic, and among other things, our concern that it oversimplifies the issues and is potentially counterproductive.
This week has been rough for a number of our state arts agencies. Here is an article about what’s happening that’s worth reading. It’s interesting to note that by cutting the Kansas Arts Commission, they are saving $575,000 in the state budget but losing $1.2 million in federal funding from the NEA—which can only fund states if there is a designated state arts agency. Attention advocates: it’s clearly not time to sit back when it comes to communicating with elected officials about the impact of your work! A Kansas-based TCG member theatre, the William Inge Center for the Arts, reports that this state money is what makes their Playwrights in Residence program possible—a core aspect of their programming and a huge opportunity for artists, for students, for audiences and for the state itself.
Here’s more information on the Conference—June 16-18 in Los Angeles. Also, don’t forget to submit your proposals for Breakout Sessions—where you can explore how to reinvent the theatre world (or the world) by asking the question, “What if…?”
Until next week, all my best!