An Opportunity to Help Many Artists Simultaneously

It is, I suppose, a sign of the times -- changes on Capitol Hill, to be specific -- that this posting is written to urge you to support one small part of the federal budget, a proposed increase of
$35 million in funds for the National Endowment for the Arts for FY 2008. Certainly, it's been a long time since the last significant increase at the NEA, so this comes as something of a welcome relief. Indeed, it marks the largest increase in NEA history.

Which tells you a lot about how little Congress cares about the arts. But without going into a lengthy and disheartening review of the NEA's history over the past 25 or so years, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

That said, you can help make this proposal a reality by writing to your Congresspersons. Take yourself over the Americans for the Arts and their on-line advocacy center, and do that immediately.

And if you want a reason why Congress should support funding for artists, forget about the moral uplift stuff and tell 'em this, from a new study by AftA: "Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences."