An Update on the NEA & Action Steps
Dear Napa County Friend of the Arts,
As you may have heard, President Trump recently announced a White House budget that proposes the elimination of fund for the National Endowment for the Arts among other key humanities, cultural, and educational institutions (such as NEH, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Institute for Library Services). You can read more at this blog post from Americans for the Arts President & CEO, Bob Lynch. This is, of course, very concerning news to all advocates who believe the arts play a vital role in engaging, uplifting, challenging, and pushing-forward our citizens, our society and the global experience of humankind. But this is not the end.
On February 28, we were honored to host Brad Erickson, veteran arts advocate and Advocacy Captain for California to Washington DC, at our Napa County State of the Arts event. Mr. Erickson, who has served on the leadership team that championed the California Arts Council from a 7 million dollar annual budget to nearly 30 million dollar budget in five years, reminded all in attendance that there are many steps between the President's budget and the final result at the end of the year. The Presidential budget is mostly a strong signal of the President's position on funding priorities - but it is not law. It is up to our Congressional leaders to develop, evaluate, re-evaluate and propose a final budget. He also shared that this is not necessarily a clear-cut partisan issue, many Republican leaders have been staunch advocates for the NEA over the years and typically conservative states like Kentucky receive significant NEA funds. Read this email authored by Brad today for more advice.
From now through October, it is critical that we voice the impact of the arts in our community, the value to ALL citizens, and economic benefits inherent in investing in a strong and accessible arts and culture program.
So what can you do?
- Reach Out to Your Representatives: At the local level, it is critical that we stay informed of the process and reach out to our local congressional representatives. It is important that our representatives also establish common ground with their colleagues across the aisle and build bi-partisan support to sustain arts, culture, and humanities funding.
- Speak Up on Arts Advocacy Day: March 21 is annual Arts Advocacy Day when thousands converge on Washington DC to advocate for arts-friendly policies.
- Show Up for Upcoming Local Proclamations: We are facilitating a series of Arts Month proclamations through the council's of each city/town in the County as well as the Board of Supervisors. Mark your calendar for these dates and SHOW your support for arts and culture in our local communities.
- American Canyon | April 4, 6pm
- Yountville | April 4, 6pm
- Napa County | April 5, 9am
- Become a Member of the Arts Action Fund: artsactionfund.org. It's easy and free. This will give you regular advocacy alerts and action steps for national policy issues. Donations help to support formal lobbying efforts on behalf of arts and culture.
Now is the time when we can make the biggest statement by coming together and voicing our shared values.