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2011 Year-End Appeal Letter

Posted on: Dec 5, 2011

I would like to share with you some highlights of the work that we’ve accomplished this year and also look ahead to 2012. I am also asking that you contribute to our year-end goal of raising $15,000. Your contribution will enable us to hit the ground running in January with our ArtsVote2012 message to both candidates and voters, especially in early primary states.

Following the tumultuous 2010 election, legislators attempted to eliminate funding for the arts in America. In 2011, the Arts Action Fund quickly put into place a series of advocacy campaigns to successfully defend those national investments. Here’s how the year unfolded:

  • January 20 – The Republican Study Committee proposed the termination of a number of federally funded cultural programs and agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Arts in Education, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Our outreach to moderate Republicans proved effective, and the proposal was not adopted.
  • April 5 – Because of our direct lobbying and grassroots efforts on National Arts Advocacy Day, we successfully led the effort to defeat a House floor amendment introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) by a vote of 240-181 on July 28th, which would have made deep cuts in funding for arts programs across the country.
  • May 25 – Despite conservative GOP-led efforts in the House of Representatives to terminate federal Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, we were later able to retain the arts prominently as a core academic subject in the Senate version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act proposal.
  • July 20 – Through our pro-active bipartisan outreach efforts to expand the Congressional Arts Caucus on Capitol Hill, total House membership topped 185 members. Among the newest Congressional members are Reps. Ted Deutsch (D-FL), Brian Higgins (D-NY), David McKinley (R-WA) and Tom Petri (R-WI).
  • October 20 – As a testament to our growing presence, even in the midst of a long-term recession and congressional gridlock, the fact that the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee proposed level funding and no reductions for the NEA and NEH is considered a major success.

Looking Ahead to the 2012 Elections

As we cast our sights ahead to the 2012 election, your support becomes all the more critical because we are facing not only legislative but electoral challenges as well. In fact, our best chance at getting pro-arts legislation and policy adopted is by having pro-arts candidates elected.  One of the goals of our ArtsVote2012 campaign is to get candidates to clearly state their position on the arts, so that our members can make informed decisions at the ballot box.

I want to share with you something that happened recently to help illustrate my point.  I was recently interviewed by Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Boehm. Mike reached out to us after receiving one of our election analysis reports.  We highlighted a quote from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s op-ed entitled Romney: How I’ll Tackle Spending, Debt penned for USA Today.  In it, Romney stated that he would “eliminate every government program that is not absolutely essential.” In a list of examples of such non-essential programs, he stated he would enact deep reductions in the subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” 

Mike asked me, “So which one is it: eliminate or reduce funding for the arts?”

I said, “Good question, but better to ask Romney himself.” The next day, Mike published for the record the answer he got from Romney’s campaign: “He doesn’t want to eliminate the NEA, NEH, or the two other agencies, but would cut their aggregate funding by half.” We now have a clear position on the arts from a leading GOP presidential candidate.  We’re diligently working on getting all of the candidates to go on the record as well.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Your support also helps us to educate both presidential and congressional candidates that an investment in the arts is an investment in the growth of the American economy, an investment in jobs that cannot be outsourced abroad, an investment in a well-rounded education, and an investment in our national culture and heritage.

We can make a difference in 2012, but we can only do it with the financial support of our members.  Please take this moment to make a generous gift to our year-end goal.  Please know that your support matters. The Arts Action Fund is the only national voice that helps advance the arts in both the electoral and legislative landscapes.

 

Thank you,

 

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S.  Please note that the Arts Action Fund in a nonprofit engaged primarily in legislative and political activity and donations are not tax-deductible.