Friday, January 30, 2009

Budge on the budget

Just in from the American Music Center:
Dear AMC members and friends,
This is a time of great challenge and great opportunity in our country. Your advocacy is needed to ensure that Congress includes the arts as a priority in an economic stimulus plan. Please consider writing to your senators, who are beginning to debate the American Reinvestment and Recovery Bill of 2009. The House version of this bill includes a supplement of $50,000,000 for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to distribute in direct grants to arts organizations to help preserve livelihoods. The Senate’s markup, however, does not include this supplement. Our representatives need to hear from us.
The week before the inauguration, leaders of national service organizations in the performing, folk and visual arts were invited to Washington to talk with the arts transition team The team was interested in your needs as expressed to us, as well as our suggestions for the NEA and ways to ensure the arts are included in this administration’s economic recovery program. On the one hand, such open, proactive reaching out by an administration is completely new in my experience, and I’ve worked in this industry for thirty-five years; it is incredibly heartening. On the other, change in government is very hard. The current administration and the congresspersons who included the arts in the House bill need our assistance right now. At this moment, we have an opportunity to help the individual artists in this country and the music of our time.
AMC is joining the organizations involved with the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) to advocate for our sector. Without recovery assistance, our field will be poorer. Without the music of living composers and all the other performing arts, our country will be poorer.
To take action and advocate for increased funding of the NEA, please visit the Performing Arts Alliance, read the recommendations of the Cultural Advocacy Group for arts recovery, PAA’s arts policy recommendations to the new administration, and above all, email your elected officials your thoughts. I hope you’ll do it today. - Joanne Hubbard Cossa

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