Federal Arts Funding

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 qualifying District arts organizations. To view a list of the organizations that received NCACA funding in 2010 and the money they received, click here.


The FY12 Federal budget compromise contained a damaging cut for District residents: National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs funding was cut from 9.5 million (FY10) down to 1 million. Funding has since rebounded slightly, but the NCACA reduction had a strong impact on the arts funding ecosystem.


Why was NCACA created?


In any city the largest arts institutions draw the most focus from foundations and private funders (including board members.) DC’s Federal arts institutions – including the Smithsonians and Kennedy Center -are a great benefit for District residents and the District’s economy but their presence does create a downward pressure on the local arts community. Recognizing that unintended impact, in 1985 Congress passed a bill to support the growth of significant DC arts institutions, particularly theaters. The Arena Stage, Studio Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theater, and others would not exist in their current forms without the past support provided by the National Capitol Arts and Cultural Affairs funding program. 


With no vote in Congress, how can we support increased NCACA funding?


Make sure that our local politicians know the importance of NCACA, and that DC’s arts agency, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) receives the funding necessary to offset the recent NCACA reduction.

Read additional articles about the NCACA cuts here and here.


The DC Advocates for the Arts are members of the Americans for the Arts. 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.