We are facing a crisis. In 1981, with a grant from the NEA, Robert Redford founded the nonprofit Sundance Institute. In the past 30 years our artist development programs and Sundance Film Festival have supported world-renowned, ground-breaking work and introduced a global audience to the best in new independent film and theater. This is just one of the countless examples of how NEA grants have enhanced and celebrated American culture and economies.
Last Friday the House Appropriations Committee proposed a budget cut of $22.5 million to the National Endowment for the Arts. While every facet of government spending is being scrutinized, and rightfully so, we are concerned by what would be the largest cut to the NEA in nearly twenty years.
It gets worse. Today, members of the House of Representatives began debating a bill designed to fund our federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. As part of this debate, we can anticipate in the days ahead a floor vote to eliminate all funding for the NEA. Total elimination of the organization that since 1965 has awarded over $4 billion to “support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation” for the benefit of all Americans.
Arts are a necessity not a luxury. As our nation strives to compete competitively in the world, the arts provide much-needed tools for nurturing and embracing innovation and creativity.
Presently artists represent a larger group in the U.S. work force than the legal profession, medical doctors, or agricultural workers.
Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences annually generate $166.2 billion in economic activity, support 5.7 million jobs, and return nearly $30 billion in government tax revenues. (Source: Data and analysis is drawn from the Americans for the Arts Arts & Economic Prosperity III study, 2007)
What you and I can and must do:
1. Call your member of Congress NOW at 202-225-3121 and tell your representative that you oppose any and all amendments to cut NEA funding.
If you are uncertain as to who represents you in Congress, click here.
Remember! Congress is made up of ELECTED officials. They are there to represent us.
2. Share this email with your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues…everyone.
On behalf of the staff, alumni and Board of Trustees of Sundance Institute, and artists everywhere, thank you for taking action.
Keri Putnam Executive Director, Sundance Institute