Pegi Taylor about NEA and Cultural Alliance
- Dear MARN,
1) Perhaps you have all seen news about this, but below is a PAN post that
came out last week about the NEA. With the NEA potentially getting a pot of
money to distribute, I thought this information might be helpful.
2) I have no idea who on the listserv, besides Melissa Dorn Richards and
Jonathan West, is attending the Feb 4-5 Summit. I will not be there. In my
current thinking, there is one thing that the Cultural Alliance/Greater
Milwaukee Committee could do that would benefit everyone. They could create
and maintain a clearinghouse Web site. I¹ve begged various people for years
about this. There should be one place where every single source in Milwaukee
putting on cultural events could list them. This would include the MSO to
individual artists to all the lectures going on at local universities (that
you only hear about afterwards) and even churches. ONE site. Part of the
CA ongoing effort would be to do outreach to make sure events get listed.
It would have to grow over time, of course. There could be a number of
offshoot activities too:
--MARN could link its upcoming artist directory into this.
--The site could develop and allow for ticket sales and for the ability to
list needs various groups/individuals might have.
I don¹t believe this would take away from MARN in any way.
3) I agree with Mike Brenner¹s alarm that there is not a single artist in
the key players for the Summit.
I will be eager to read Jonathan¹s notes from the Summit,
Today Patrice Walker Powell, Deputy Chairman for States, Regions and Local
Arts Agencies at the NEA, announced to endowment staff that she has been
named by the Obama administration as acting chairman of the NEA. In
addition, Anita Decker has been appointed by the White House as director of
government affairs. The following statement on economic stimulus was posted
to the NEA website today.
"Information Regarding the Arts and Economic Stimulus
January 29, 2009
There has been much public conversation recently regarding the role of the
arts and culture industry in economic stimulus. Following is information
that seeks to clarify this issue through two key points: that the arts and
culture industry is a sector of the economy just like any other with workers
who pay taxes, mortgages, rent and contribute in other ways to the economy;
and that the National Endowment for the Arts is uniquely positioned to
assist in job stimulation for that industry.
A statement on January 22 from then NEA Chairman Dana Gioia noted, "Arts
organizations have been hit enormously hard by the current recession.
They've seen their support drop from corporations, foundations, and
municipalities. This infusion of funds will help sustain them, their staffs,
and the artists they employ. We are hopeful that Congress and the new
administration will support this important investment."
The arts and culture sector
A recent study released by the National Governors Association titled Arts
and the Economy: Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic
Development states, "Arts and culture are important to state economies. Arts
and culture-related industries, also known as creative industries," provide
direct economic benefits to states and communities: They create jobs,
attract investment, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies
through tourism and consumer purchases."
As noted in the NEA study Artists in the Workforce (May 2008), there are two
million trained, entrepreneurial working artists across the country who are
assets to their communities. Representing 1.4 percent of the U.S. labor
force, artists constitute a sizeable class of workers -- only slightly
smaller than the total number of active-duty and reserve personnel in the
U.S. military (2.2 million).
In addition to artists, there are many more arts administrators who manage
arts institutions including office staff such as accountants and booking
agents, production staff such as stage managers, and artistic staff such as
ballet masters and artist managers.
According to research by Americans for the Arts, nonprofits arts
organizations and their audiences generate $166.2 billion in economic
activity every year, support 5.7 million jobs, and return nearly $30 billion
in government revenue every year. Every $1 billion in spending by nonprofit
arts and culture organizations and their audiences results in almost 70,000
full time jobs.
The National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA has in place processes to distribute federal funds quickly and
effectively to organizations large and small in every Congressional
district. The NEA's grant-making process of applications, panels, and grants
distributes money to arts and culture organizations in six to nine months
both through state governments and directly to the organizations themselves.
A review of NEA grants for FY 2008 revealed that for every $10,000 of grant
money, 162 artists benefited. This number does not include the arts
administrators involved in these projects as mentioned above.
Of the 884 grants approved in the NEA's October 2008 National Council on the
Arts meeting, project costs totaled $403.8 million of which 22 percent was
designated for salaries. Of the $53 million requested in those 884 grants,
the NEA was able to fund more than $20 million or 3 percent.
The NEA has strong relationships with grantees and other institutions in the
nonprofit arts field that can facilitate funds distribution. And finally,
the projects the NEA supports aren't subject to hearings or studies at the
front end that might delay the start of a project and don't put entitlements
in place after a project is completed.
Examples from the arts and culture sector
Nonprofit arts organization have been struck particularly hard in this
economic downturn due to their reliance on both private and public, earned
and donated monies to support their activities. Some examples of the impact
of the economic crisis on arts organizations follow.
* The Los Angeles Opera said today that it had laid off 17 employees, or
approximately 17% of its staff. It has also mandated a pay cut for all
employees, averaging 6% but with higher-paid staffers taking an 8% cut.
(source Los Angeles Times, 1/27/09)
* The Milwaukee Shakespeare Theater Company, a high profile regional
nonprofit theater closed down operations in October. (source: report from
* The Seattle Art Museum has cut back five percent of its staff and is
facing a $3.8 million annual shortfall if it can't find a new tenant for the
space Washington Mutual had been leasing from it. (source: Seattle
Post-Intelligencer , 1/25/09)
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