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Federal Budget Cuts Critical DC Arts Funds

The final FY12 Federal budget compromise contained a damaging cut for District residents. The National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program was cut from 9.5 million (FY10) down to 1 million for the current fiscal year.

What Is NCACA, and How Does It Affect DC Artists?

The National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program was created by Congress in 1985 to address the downward pressure of National arts institutions on the local arts economy. It is a critical support to 25 of DC’s largest arts organizations. In 2010 NCACA provided operating support of between $250,000 and $450,000 per year to 25 qualifiying arts organizations in the District. To download a list of the organizations that received NCACA funding in 2010 and the amount of money they received, click here. This NCACA reduction will have a crushing impact on the local arts economy.

Why was NCACA created?

The Arena Stage, Studio Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theater, and others would not exist in their current forms without the National Capitol Arts and Cultural Affairs Program.  In any city the largest arts institutions draw the most focus from foundations, and private funders (including board members.) While Federal arts insitutions including the Smithsonians and Kennedy Center are a great benefit for District residents and the District’s economy, their presence has created a strong downward pressure on the local arts community. They reduce support for local DC arts organizations, not only in foundation dollars, but in board participation and private money.

With no vote in Congress, what can we do about these Federal DC Arts cuts?

Make sure that our local politicians know they’re happening, and that DC’s arts agency, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), needs additional funds to offset their impact. Read additional articles about the NCACA cuts here and here.

Additional Federal Arts Cuts

President Obama’s FY12 budget proposal released Feburary 14, 2011 contains several cuts for the arts in D.C.  His proposal reduces the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget from 167 million to 145 million, the National Endowment for the Humanities budget from 168 to 146 million. To download a copy of the President’s budget transmittal document, click here. You can find the NEA information on page 123, the NEH information on page 124, and the NCACA information on page 141. The final Federal FY12 included a 20 million reduction from FY11.  NEA money is used to cover administrative expenses, for agency programming, re-granted in state block grants, and re-granted in individual grants. The NEA has not yet released a detailed plan for how the cuts will be accommodated. In FY 11 the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities received $710,000 from the NEA.

The DC Advocates for the Arts are members of the Americans for the Arts, and while DC does not have representation in Congress, we encourage District residents to participate in National Arts Advocacy Day. Together we can protect Federal funding for the arts.

Stay tuned to our facebook page for information news alerts as they occur: www.facebook.com/pages/DC-Advocates-for-the-Arts/184310074921149.