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Performing Arts Alliance

Federal Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts

What We Are Asking Right Now | Recent Activity

What's At Stake

A unique combination of private and public funding and box office receipts come together to support the nonprofit performing arts. A critical source of federal support for performing arts organizations around the country comes from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Through direct grants and support to state arts agencies, the NEA awards more than 2,200 grants each year to nonprofit performing arts organizations for projects that encourage artistic creativity.

Despite overwhelming support by the American public for spending federal tax dollars in support of the arts, the NEA has never recovered from a 40 percent budget cut in the mid-nineties and its programs are seriously underfunded. The Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) and other arts advocates work hard each year to strengthen support for the NEA in Congress.

See the 2014 NEA Issue Brief for background information and talking points about What's At Stake.


What We're Asking Right Now

We urge Congress to support a budget of $155 million for the NEA in the FY 2014 Interior Appropriations bill to preserve citizen access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

Recent Activity

PAA Submits Testimony to House Appropriations Committee

April 10, 2014 

The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies is the legislative body that makes recommendations for the NEA's budget. PAA submitted written testimony to this committee highlighting the general value of the NEA's support for the arts in America. It includes specific examples of PAA member organizations' programs and services that recieved FY14 and prior support from the agency. Click here to read PAA's testimony. 

FY14 Budget Victory for the NEA

January 17, 2014 

On Friday, January 17, President Obama signed into law the $1.1 trillion spending package passed a few days prior by the House and Senate. Lawmakers reached a deal on this spending package in December 2013. The spending bill allocates $146,021,000 to the NEA for FY14 which restores its budget to near-FY12 funding levels. This is nearly double the $75,000,000 the House proposed for FY14 in its Interior bill over the summer. Due to your advocacy efforts, the NEA’s budget has recovered from the 5% cut it received in the FY13 sequester.

FY14 House Interior Appropriations Bill

August 2013
The House’s FY14 Interior Appropriations bill which sets the budget for the NEA was released in late July allotting only $75 million for the agency. This amount is 49% less than the President’s recommendation of approximately $154.5 million. The full House Appropriations Committee met to markup the interior bill. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-7th NY) and Rep. David E. Price (D-4th NC) submitted an amendment to restore NEA funding to the President’s requested level, but it was defeated by a 19-27 vote. On August 1, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released its draft interior bill for FY14 restoring the NEA's funding back to the President’s level of $154.5 million. Budget talks, though, were put on hold until after the August recess, leaving about one month until the end of the current fiscal year to make decisions on the FY14 budget.  

FY13 House Interior Appropriations Bill

June 20, 2012
The U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee voted to cut NEA funding by $14 million for FY13 from the current funding level of $146 million. This decrease of nearly 10% is in addition to the $9 million decrease the NEA suffered last year.

FY12 NEA Funding Finalized

December 28, 2011
President Obama has signed a consolidated bill to finalize FY12 federal funding. The final budget package includes $145.979 million for the NEA.

After a rollercoaster year, the FY12 NEA budget suffered a decrease of $8.745 million compared to last year's funding allocation. The House of Representatives and the Senate proposed budgets ranging from $135 million to $155 million, ultimately compromising to reach the same amount originally requested by the President, a decrease for the agency to a level of $145.979 million. In anticipation of a decrease this year, the NEA, which is halfway through its FY12 grant cycle, has reduced the total amount of grant disbursement, and further changes for FY13 grants and beyond are expected to be announced shortly.