Isaac's third installment about why the NEA is important is a must read.
Here's a key paragraph:
(1) NEA grants are administered through partnerships with other organizations, many of whom are state arts agencies. In his post, Matt asks why we need federal arts subsidies. One of the reasons is so that we can have local, city and state arts councils to begin with. 40% of the NEA's money goes into that pot. I'm sure there could be more efficient ways to do this, but it's worth saying that it's not that we face an either/or choice when it comes to federalism and arts funding.
It's easy to get spooked out by the specter of the government determining what art you should like. This view is an inaccurate picture of the NEA. The NEA is our way as a society of pooling resources (in the form of taxes) in order to support the arts (for reasons I'll get into below) and entrusting that money with a group of experts with decades of experience in the field.
One last one:
When the House voted on the final bill, Democratic Congressman David Obey, who sponsored the bill, explained why he thought it was important to retain NEA funding in the stimulus package: “There are five million people who work in the arts industry. And right now they have 12.5% unemployment—or are you suggesting that somehow if you work in that field, it isn’t real when you lose your job, your mortgage or your health insurance? We’re trying to treat people who work in the arts the same way as anybody else.”
Where's Obey now? Retired.
The point is that the NEA isn't out of the fight yet. But the prognosis isn't great. Even the Obama Administration has NEA cuts planned, also around $20 million.
So. Enough for this post. The round up is coming up.