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Arts Action Fund Members Lobbying on Capitol Hill

Posted on: Aug 1, 2017

This month, Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund brought several grassroots arts leaders to Washington, D.C. to lobby key Members of Congress on increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and to participate in a Congressional and press briefing on the economic impact of the arts.This was strategically timed to take place during the Congressional appropriations process before Members go back home for August recess.

  • On Thursday, July 27th, national, state and local arts leaders from seven states shared their stories and the results from their AEP5 economic impact studies. They were joined by our Artist Committee member and recording artist Ben Folds, an arts advocate and member of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
  • Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ), co-chair of the bi-partisan Congressional Arts Caucus, spoke of the economic importance of the arts, commenting that “investing in the arts makes smart economic and fiscal sense.”
  • Mayor Allison Silberberg of Alexandria, VA, attended the briefing to represent both her city of Alexandria and The United Sates Conference of Mayors. The Conference of Mayors has endorsed the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 report findings, and unanimously passed a policy resolution to urge Congress to increase funding for the NEA to $155 million.
  • Musician Ben Folds spoke about the power of the arts to educate, inspire, and heal. He highlighted how artistic and creative thinking are necessary for businesses and the economy to succeed.
  • Arts advocates were also able to meet with their representatives while in D.C.
  • On July 18, 2017, a group of upstate New York arts advocates led by Naj Wycoff met with STEAM Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Elise Stefankik (R-NY-21), and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s chief policy advisor Cynthia Herrle. Advocates urged the Members to increae arts funding for the NEA, NEH, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting by sharing personal stories and demonstrating how federal support for the arts impacts individual lives. Herrle said she has confidence in the Senate further increasing NEA/NEH funding by $5 million. The advocates also met with staff from the offices of Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer (both D-NY). These meetings demonstrate bi-partisan support for the arts, and the need for dialogue about the arts across the aisle.