Thursday, January 03, 2008

Arts Advocacy Update XIV

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv.

First, some news...

President Bush Signs Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 with $144.7 Million for National Endowment for the ArtsNational Endowment for the Arts

Yes, that's right -- Bush approved the largest jump in NEA funding in 28 years. Because when absolutely everybody else hates your guts, it must be time to suck up seriously to the artists.

And now, more tidbits...

Art Means Business
Baltimore Magazine, January 2008
"In 2002, Maryland became the first state to create Arts and Entertainment Districts as a way of stimulating development. Of the 15 designated areas around the state, two are located in Baltimore City: Station North (which includes North Avenue from Howard to Greenmount) and Highlandtown. In these neighborhoods, state and city government are using tax incentives—including property tax credits, exemptions from admissions and amusement taxes, and a waiver of the sales tax on artwork—to attract and retain artists and arts-related development. But can the arts really give Station North and Highlandtown the boost they’ve long needed? Looking around, there are signs that it’s already happening."
The state needs it -- good stuff.

Arts Education Appropriations and Research
TCG Bulletin, January 2008
"After nearly 10 years without comprehensive national data, Congress has approved more than $2 million in funding to support a fast-response arts education survey in the 08-09 school year. ...Congress also approved near-level funding for the competitive Arts in Education grant programs of the U.S. Department of Education, following an across-the-board cut to all of the Department's programs."
It's really the only good thing about Huckabee's candidacy -- the idea of arts in education. So this is good in that respect.

State Department Cultural Exchange Programs
TCG Bulletin, January 2008
"Congress has allocated $505 million for Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs within the State Department's FY 08 appropriations. This is a $19 million increase over the President's request and a $59 million increase above last year's budget."
You can actually go to this site to learn more about this.

$1-million startup for arts reserve sought by Danner
St. Petersburg Times (FL), 12/26/2007
"When [St. Petersburg, FL] officials took an ax to the budget earlier this summer, arts organizations were among the first to get cut. Now, City Council member Jeff Danner wants to make sure those arts organizations get some funding back with the creation of a privately funded arts reserve administered by the city."
Part of the growing trend of doing end-runs around public appropriations in favor of private donations. Smart move -- it protects ongoing constituencies against the vagaries of the economy and politics.

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