56 State Arts Agencies Face the Death of the NEA

state arts

With state arts agencies facing what is perhaps an existential moment, is arts advocacy in the US strong enough, loud enough and powerful enough?

On Jan. 3, 2017, I sent an individual email to leaders and selected staff of all US state arts agencies — 56 in total, counting 50 states and six territories. Their contact information is easy to find via the website of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), which provides an interactive map as well as links to websites, social media and superb data, research and analysis. The subject of the email was straightforward. We’re in new and frightening political waters. Especially for those of us in the arts and culture sector. If you know anything about it — as a business, as an industry, as a whole economy of its own — then you know and must realistically assume that the election of Donald Trump and total control of Congress by the Republican Party may well mean the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Following a short introduction about myself and The Clyde Fitch Report, my email posed two questions for each arts agency to answer. Just two:

  • What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
  • In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?

This is not the first time I have undertaken a survey of every state arts agency. In December 2010 and again in March 2011, I wrote posts here on the CFR on the social media presence of each one. This was a time when thought leaders imagined social media to be the magic bullet that would take care of all the chronic audience-development problems plaguing arts, culture and entertainment. This is a real thing: America has both an audiences-are-getting-older problem and an audiences-are-still-really-white problem. Things may be changing, albeit slowly. But then as now, every person running a theater or a museum or a dance company or a gallery, or whatever, is painfully aware of the tectonic demographic shifts underway in America, even as we usher in an administration all too eager to ignore, marginalize, threaten and segregate it.

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Of course, the NEA itself — with all due respect to my colleagues there — is not that big a deal in terms of dollars and cents. When arts leaders and advocates write about the agency’s budget, they often like to point out that it constitutes such a miniscule fraction of the overall federal budget it can be measured in only hundredths of a percent. Talk about dancing on the head of a pin. For the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the NEA’s budget is $147.9M. It was about the same — roughly $1M less — last year. As the agency’s most recent report to Congress notes, 40% of the NEA’s budget, by statute, goes directly to state and regional arts agencies. That’s tens of millions of dollars — and here’s why that’s important. By my count (courtesy of a map on NASAA’s site showing per capita and overall spending by state arts agency), 18 states/territories had arts budgets last year of $1M or less. Another 10 or 12 had budgets between $1M and $2M. If the NEA didn’t exist, therefore, large chunks of state arts agency budgets would evaporate overnight. Right now, comparatively few agencies make arts appropriations aggressive enough to withstand such an assault — New York ($45.1M); Florida ($39.9M) and Minnesota (34.3M) among them. The rest, in other words, are deeply vulnerable. Kill the NEA and you kill companies and jobs and audiences and every business related to their work. The NEA is not so much a matter of money as a symbol of arts and culture’s value to the national soul, assuming we have one.

On Jan. 3, when I sent out those emails, I also knew that if the NEA arrived at the chopping block in 2017, it would have nothing to do with money. The reason would be because the culture wars never ended. Republicans do not believe government should fund the arts, because the arts — all manner of free expression — threaten their power and agenda.

A week after sending out my emails, two things happened. First, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) here in NYC, where I did a video interview with Mario Durham Garcia, APAP’s CEO and President. I asked him whether he imagined that the incoming Trump administration would eliminate the NEA and he said he didn’t know. What would worry him if they did, he said, would be the “symbolism” of the move — how “it would send a message” to individual states that they “have that option as well.” He assured me that arts leaders nationwide were meeting and talking and planning for all contingencies. There would be action should the NEA become a candidate for euthanization.

Second, I received a PDF letter, via email, from Pam Breaux, the CEO of NASAA. She thanked me for undertaking the two-question survey. She wanted to emphasize that state arts agencies

…form the backbone of America’s public arts commitment, making the cultural, educational, economic and civic benefits of the arts available in all 50 states and six U.S. jurisdictions. I’m happy that you’ll be telling this story and sharing examples of state arts agencies’ impact on communities across the nation.

Breaux also made clear that my second question struck a nerve:

…speculating about the demise of the National Endowment for the Arts is not a constructive way to inspire policymakers’ confidence, nor will it mobilize the kind of support our sector needs. It’s important to be clear-sighted about political realities without evoking fear based arguments or overlooking the fact that support for the arts originates from both sides of the aisle.

Rather than whisper a possible truth, rather than acknowledge a potential reality, rather than call the elephant in the room an elephant, she wrote, better we should

…emphasize what congressional funding for the NEA and legislative funding to state arts agencies accomplishes. Why should Republican majorities in the House, Senate and many state legislatures sustain public funding for the arts? Because it’s prudent public policy that addresses the needs of American communities.

She provided a list of bullet points, which I publish here:

  • The arts help government to address what ails the American economy. Small businesses, individual entrepreneurs and innovators are the heart and soul of the American economy, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis affirms that creative enterprises are a significant part of that equation. Arts and cultural production is growing, providing jobs and tax revenue. As America enters a new era of international trade deals, it’s also important to remember that creative products generate a surplus. The United States exports more arts and cultural products and services than it imports, and that’s positive for job growth and our nation’s overall economy.
  • The arts offer solutions for rural America. Many rural communities were slow to rebound (or haven’t yet recovered) from the recession and are suffering from chronically high poverty rates, low education success and the outmigration of skilled workers. Arts based economic development strategies offer authentic, sustainable advantages to rural areas while preserving the heritage of those communities. For this reason, state arts agencies are among those who are leading the way in pioneering the next generation of rural development solutions.
  • People across the political spectrum are concerned about health care. The arts offer approaches and cost-effective treatments that work. Arts-integrated therapies for members of the military produce positive clinical outcomes. The arts help other patient groups, including older Americans, to recover more quickly from procedures, require shorter hospitalizations, take fewer medications, and attain better measures of mental, physical and social well-being. Here again, state arts agencies are at the vanguard of efforts to serve both our military and aging populations through the arts.

Breaux further wished to promote these research papers:

Finally, Breaux offered to do a call, which we did on background. We have agreed to disagree. I do not believe that raising awareness that the NEA could be eliminated is fear-mongering. Indeed, I believe to not acknowledge such a possibility constitutes professional malpractice. But then, I’ve beaten the drum on this for years. I don’t believe that America’s arts advocacy establishment is strong enough or is loud enough or is good enough. Why do we never learn?

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And then, on Jan. 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration, this news story was published in The Hill regarding dramatic possible cuts to the federal budget. Among other things,

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

The story has been picked up widely, starting with The Hill’s own follow-up. The Independent featured a 1969 YouTube video of Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) testifying on the subject of public broadcasting. The Los Angeles Times is on the case. So is Playbill and the International Business Times and Salon and ArtForum and, most notably, The Washington Post, which argues that killing the NEA is not about money, but about something more important:

In the age of social media, digital rancor and corrosive suspicion of anything outside one’s personal philosophical comfort zone, winning a skirmish against the enemy feels better than witnessing incremental improvement toward actually fixing our problems. You will learn more about the larger economic forces that have led to the decline of manufacturing and the demoralization of blue-collar communities on PBS than you will haphazardly scarfing angry headlines on the Internet, but it feels so much better to attack PBS than pay attention to its content.

There is a petition on the White House website, but guess what? It isn’t working properly.

Equally disturbing, our arts leaders appear concerned but not alarmed. The message seems to be stay in your seats not get out and march. Right now, Americans for the Arts (AFTA) links to its advocacy arm, The Arts Action Fund, in four remarkably passive-aggressive ways:

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do these things. We should all do these things. But doing these things does not make you an arts advocate. It means you outsourced your advocacy. It’s not good enough. Not this time. Think about it: Is screaming on Facebook enough in the age of Trump?

When the Jan. 19 article in The Hill came out, Breaux distributed what can only be characterized as an emergency email to the head of every state arts agency. The contents of this email was provided to the CFR by an anonymous source that also finds it oddly nonchalant. In part, it reads:

As reported in The Hill, two members of the Trump transition team met with career White House staff members to “outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy.” The article suggests massive federal cuts that include the elimination of the NEA. This is bad news, yet I’m not sounding the alarm bell for immediate action. This is an important time to be strategic and calm.

Strategic and calm?

These are the bullet points NASAA wants every state arts agency to remember. The italics are mine, for emphasis:

  • The federal budget process is a long one; it requires public participation, and we’re extremely early in the game.
  • Although it was reported that two presidential transition team staff members support the position outlined in the article, we have not confirmed that top-level officials within the Trump White House agree with this or have committed to push this agenda anytime soon. We’re on it and aim to find out.
  • Keep in mind that national arts service organizations’ CEOs and lobbyists are already at work on the presidential transition. As a community of arts advocates, we’re focused on the welfare of the NEA, and collectively, we’re on this.
  • Also keep in mind that we’ve worked hard to gain and have achieved Republican and Democratic supporters in Congress, especially among appropriators. We’ll certainly call upon those supporters moving forward. In fact, Isaac Brown and I already have an appropriations appointment on the hill set for next week; we’ll gain further information there as well.
  • As events unfold, we’ll keep you informed, and we’ll definitely let you know when and what action is needed. Your Congressional calls will be very important, and I’ll let you know when they can be most influential. We’ll also send this communication to your public information officers to assist them in fielding questions from constituents.
  • Please stay tuned! Please keep the faith!

“We’re on this”? “We’re on it”? Don’t act yet? Why shouldn’t arts advocacy be a strong, sustained, unrelenting and unapologetic effort all year round — one undertaken by all of us, all artists and all administrators and all audiences and all workers all year round?

My fellow artists, arts administrators, arts advocates and supporters of arts, culture and entertainment: this is why we lose. This is why we struggle. This is why we’re chronically underfunded. This is why the NEA may go. This is unacceptable.

Below are the results of our survey. The leaders of just seven arts agencies — Guam, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington — elected to participate.The other 49 elected not to supply even the words “No comment.” Which leaves the CFR in a peculiar position. We could have abandoned the article. We could have published only the responses of the agencies that are participating. We believe the lack of response is a direct reflection of arts leaders instructing them to do nothing (“we’ve got this!”). Which means, in our view, that these agencies have knowingly abdicated an opportunity to influence their messaging, positively or negatively, at least through this article.

Thus, for those agencies that opted out of this survey, CFR shall characterize their non-reply as follows:

  • The [Name of Agency] and its Executive Director, [Name], decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.
  • The [Name of Agency] and its Executive Director, [Name], decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

It is, after all, the truth.

We also make this open, standing offer:

Should any agency wish to add their answers to this list — including “No comment” — the CFR commits to a continuous updating of this post in real time, indefinitely. We hope those agencies that opted out of this survey will read the generous, insightful answers provided by their colleagues and reconsider their decision. Don’t artists deserve as much?

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Alabama State Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Al Head
201 Monroe Street, Suite 110
Montgomery, AL 36130-1800
Phone: 334-242-4076
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alabama-State-Council-on-the-Arts-87332923501
On Twitter: @ALStateArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Alabama State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Al Head, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Alabama State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Al Head, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Alaska State Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Andrea Noble-Pelant
161 S. Klevin Street, Suite 102
Anchorage, AK 99508-1506
Phone: 907-269-6610
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsAlaska
On Twitter: @Arts4Alaska

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Alaska State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Andrea Noble-Pelant, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Alaska State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Andrea Noble-Pelant, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and Humanities
Executive Director: Uta Laloulu Tagoilelagi
PO Box 1540
Pago Pago, AS 96799
Phone: 684-633-4347
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ascach07/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and Humanities and its Executive Director, Uta Laloulu Tagoilelagi, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and Humanities and its Executive Director, Uta Laloulu Tagoilelagi, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Arizona Commission on the Arts
Executive Director: Robert Booker
417 West Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: 602-771-6501
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/azartscommission/
On Twitter: @AZartscomm

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Arizona Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Robert Booker, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Arizona Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Robert Booker, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Arkansas Arts Council
Interim Executive Director: Marian Boyd
1100 North Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-324-9766
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasArtsCouncil
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Arkansas Arts Council and its Interim Executive Director, Marian Boyd, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Arkansas Arts Council and its Interim Executive Director, Marian Boyd, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

California Arts Council
Director: Craig Watson
1300 I Street, Suite 930
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-322-6555
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/californiaartscouncil
On Twitter: @CalArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The California Arts Council and its Director, Craig Watson, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The California Arts Council and its Director, Craig Watson, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Colorado Creative Industries
Director: Margaret Hunt
1625 Broadway, Suite 2700
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 303-892-3802
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoCreatives
On Twitter: @CO_Creatives

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
Colorado Creative Industries and its Director, Margaret Hunt, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
Colorado Creative Industries and its Director, Margaret Hunt, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Connecticut Office of the Arts
Director of Culture: Kristina Newman-Scott
One Constitution Plaza, 2nd Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: 860-256-2800
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CTOfficeoftheArts/
On Twitter: @CTOfficeofArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Connecticut Office of the Arts and its Director of Culture, Kristina Newman-Scott, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Connecticut Office of the Arts and its Director of Culture, Kristina Newman-Scott, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

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Delaware Division of the Arts
Executive Director: Paul Weagraff
Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street, 4th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: 302-577-8278
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsDelaware
On Twitter: @ArtsDelaware

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Delaware Division of the Arts and its Executive Director, Paul Weagraff, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Delaware Division of the Arts and its Executive Director, Paul Weagraff, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Executive Director: Arthur Espinoza, Jr.
200 I Street SE, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-724-5613
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDCArts
On Twitter: @TheDCArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and its Executive Director, Arthur Espinoza, Jr., decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and its Executive Director, Arthur Espinoza, Jr., decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Florida Division of Cultural Affairs
Division Director: Sandy Shaughnessy
329 North Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32308
Phone: 850-245-6470
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FLCulturalAffairs/
On Twitter: @CultureBuildsFL

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and its Division Director, Sandy Shaughnessy, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and its Division Director, Sandy Shaughnessy, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Georgia Council for the Arts
Executive Director: Karen Paty
75 Fifth Street, NW, Suite 1200
Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: 404-962-4839
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaCouncilfortheArts/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Georgia Council for the Arts and its Executive Director, Karen Paty, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Georgia Council for the Arts and its Executive Director, Karen Paty, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency
Executive Director: Johnny Sablan
PO Box 2950
Hagatna, GU 96932
Phone: 671-300-1204
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Guam-Council-on-the-Arts-Humanities-Agency-221312104684939/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities (CAHA) is Guam’s sole state arts agency. CAHA encourages and fosters the opportunity for participation in the arts and humanities through programs designed to benefit the local community. Our role is to ensure that arts and culture in the community will grow and play a more significant part in the welfare and educational experience of our island. One of CAHA’s biggest roles in the past 12 months was preparing for the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPac) that was held on Guam from May 22 to June 4, 2016. FestPac is the largest assembly that brings together cultural practitioners for 2 weeks from 27 different island nations throughout Oceania to celebrate their cultural similarities and uniqueness. It is a traveling festival throughout Oceania, which occurs every four years. FestPac is also known as the “Olympics of Pacific Culture”.

For the first time in history, Guam was given the honor to host the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts. Hosting a festival with such a large magnitude is such a huge deal for our island and our people. It was Guam’s opportunity to showcase its unique Chamorro culture that has survived colonization of the past and modernization of the present western influences. In 2020, FestPac will be held in Hawaii.

As the sole arts agency on Guam, CAHA was assigned with selecting a 500-member delegation from various arts disciplines to represent the island such as visual arts, floral arts, performing arts, traditional arts (canoe and navigation, culinary arts, fishing and hunting, weaving, blacksmithing, carving, healing arts), literary arts (publications, theater, fashion, indigenous languages, oratory), and forums, workshops & seminars. CAHA’s role was also to develop the artistic program and schedule for the 2-week long festival. In the 4 years leading up to the festival, CAHA, members of the respective disciplines developed plans necessary to achieve a successful festival.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
We are extremely grateful for NEA’s continued support throughout the years. In a post-NEA world, CAHA will be able to sustain projects and initiate new programs that will benefit the arts in the community. The local government is very supportive in the arts and culture. It is in the interest of Guam to stimulate economic growth through the arts, cultural activities, and opportunities for our local artists. Guam is experiencing a continuing resurgence of arts and culture in which CAHA is an active proponent of and actively engaged participant. Despite having a small staff and limited resources, the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency has been able to maintain a presence in the community. Whether it is through CAHA initiatives or through its collaborations with the public or private sector of the community, the arts and culture are thriving on Guam. Government agencies, schools, banks, shopping center, hotels, and other businesses are impacted by the arts through presentations, workshops, conferences, displays, and shows.

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Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Executive Director: Jonathan Johnson
250 South Hotel Street, 2nd Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-586-0300
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hawaiisfca/
On Twitter: @hawaii_sfca

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and its Executive Director, Jonathan Johnson, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and its Executive Director, Jonathan Johnson, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Idaho Commission on the Arts
Executive Director: Michael Faison
2410 North Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712
Phone: 208-334-2119
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/idahocommissiononthearts/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Idaho Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Michael Faison, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Idaho Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Michael Faison, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Illinois Arts Council Agency
Executive Director: Tatiana Gant
100 West Randolph Street, Suite 10-500
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-6750
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/illinoisartscouncilagency
On Twitter: @ILarts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Illinois Arts Council Agency and its Executive Director, Tatiana Gant, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Illinois Arts Council Agency and its Executive Director, Tatiana Gant, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Indiana Arts Commission
Executive Director: Lewis Ricci
100 North Senate Avenue, Room N505
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-232-1268
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inartscommission
On Twitter: @INArtsComm

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Indiana Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Lewis Ricci, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Indiana Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Lewis Ricci, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Iowa Arts Council
Executive Director: Mary Cownie
600 E. Locust
Des Moines, IA 50319-0290
Phone: 515-242-6194
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IowaArtsCouncil
On Twitter: @IowaArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Iowa Arts Council and its Executive Director, Mary Cownie, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Iowa Arts Council and its Executive Director, Mary Cownie, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission
Director: Peter Jasso
1000 S.W. Jackson Street, Suite 100
Topeka, KS 66612-1354
Phone: 785-296-2178
Email: n/a
On Facebook: n/a
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and its Director, Peter Jasso, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and its Director, Peter Jasso, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

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Kentucky Arts Council
Executive Director: Lydia Bailey Brown
1025 Capital Center Dr., 3rd Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: 502-564-3757
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kentuckyartscouncil/
On Twitter: @KYArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Kentucky Arts Council and its Executive Director, Lydia Bailey Brown, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Kentucky Arts Council and its Executive Director, Lydia Bailey Brown, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Louisiana Division of the Arts
Director: Cheryl Castille
1051 North 3rd Street, Room 405
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: 225-342-8180
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaOfficeofCulturalDevelopment/
On Twitter: @LaStateCulture

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Louisiana Division of the Arts and its Director, Cheryl Castille, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Louisiana Division of the Arts and its Director, Cheryl Castille, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Maine Arts Commission
Executive Director: Julie Richard
193 State Street
25 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: 207-287-2724
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mainearts
On Twitter: @MaineArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Maine Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Julie Richard, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Maine Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Julie Richard, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Maryland State Arts Commission
Executive Director: Theresa Colvin
175 W. Ostend Street, Suite E
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: 410-767-6555
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marylandarts
On Twitter: @marylandarts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Maryland State Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Theresa Colvin, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Maryland State Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Theresa Colvin, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Executive Director: Anita Walker
10 St. James Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02116-3803
Phone: 617-858-2700
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masscultural/
On Twitter: @masscultural

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
We are a sanctuary for hope. An incubator for social justice. The stewards of our collective memory. The scientific rigor that explains our world, and the knowledge to change it for the better. We provide the vision to see our common humanity and the imagination to overcome what we cannot see.

As the first rays of light touched 2016, we could not have foreseen the new importance of our work. We have always embraced hope and imagination, community and meaning, as the nucleotides of our DNA. And as 2016 dawned, we accelerated our commitment to these values with vigor.

Even as other major funders were redirecting their arts investments away from programs for youth, we doubled down on increased funding for creative youth development because we know the names of the lives saved in these programs over the past 22 years. And we know that unnamed thousands more could be saved.

  • With a flat budget in hand, we increased our investment in Massachusetts’ traditional artists, many of them new immigrants with unparalleled skill and talent.
  • We added new resources to our fledgling UP Initiative, embracing universal design principles in the cultural sector so that everyone is welcome to participate in the arts.
  • We committed new support to our 30-year-old Local Cultural Council program to re-energize this most potent grassroots community-building arts network in America.
  • We fortified our investment in nearly 400 nonprofit cultural organizations, from the visual arts, theater, and dance companies that help us see our world through a creative lens, to our interpretive science institutions that teach the critical thinking skills we need to separate fact from fiction.

And in partnership with the Boston Foundation, we took a leap of faith on a new approach to city making, launching Futurecity\Massachusetts. This is not just a shined up version of creative placemaking. It is an entirely new way of thinking about the role of artists in city planning and an even newer way the arts field thinks about itself, not as charities but as economic drivers, who belong at the table with developers and city leaders.

Success in 2016 presented itself in remarkable ways: An unprecedented $50M gift from Michael Bloomberg to the Museum of Science, inspired by a childhood experience learning about a sequoia tree from a museum educator. Two Massachusetts Creative Youth Development programs, Theater Offensive and IBA, honored at the White House as among the best in the nation. Our first showcase of traditional artists planned for next May at the beautiful Shalin Liu Theater in Rockport, unveiling the music and dance hidden in plain sight in communities across the Commonwealth. Leadership from Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Artists for Humanity, and The Hitchcock Center embracing energy conservation as a basic responsibility of residence on the planet Earth. And dozens of cultural non-profits joining us to be inclusive, judgment-free zones, knowing no organization is complete until everyone feels they belong.

Now, as we look toward an uncertain 2017, we are more certain than ever of the urgency of this work and the confidence with which we must carry it forward. The young people in ourYouthReach and SerHacer programs know that they matter and that they can make a difference in their communities. Many of these young people have grown up a border apart from parents and family. They now fear that their chance to matter and make a difference here is threatened. We must make sure it is not.

As the caretakers of the nation’s history, our investments in historic buildings and records preserve stories that teach not just about the past, but also about the consequences of the decisions we make. Museums are among the most trusted institutions in an increasingly cynical society. Their vitality and sustainability is directly related to ours.

When we hear that we live in a “post truth” era and that facts are in the eye of the beholder, science teaches us that facts are the difference between truth and fear. Our science museums are the first line of defense against confusion and distortion.

And when we wonder how we became so divided as a nation and if we will ever be in harmony again, the arts remain the language through which we share our pain and joy, and the fragile tissue that connects us.

In 2017, we must bring more vigor to our work. We must open our doors wider, welcome louder, and hold our vulnerable youth tighter. Provide more opportunities for people of color. Add the voices of youth to our boards. Commit to serving neighborhoods that we may have overlooked. Walk through our facilities with persons in wheelchairs or using a cane, and learn from that experience. Embrace the fact that people have their own personal pronoun preferences. Extend your hand, and your reach.

Let’s end the culture wars and declare that culture works.

Because we are a sanctuary for hope. An incubator for social justice. The stewards of our collective memory. The scientific rigor that explains our world, and the knowledge to change it for the better. We provide the vision to see our common humanity and the imagination to overcome what we cannot see.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
2017 has begun and the Mass Cultural Council starts this new year with the announcement of an exciting new partnership with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to celebrate the centennial of the birth of John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy understood the power of the arts and humanities in our society. And he was not afraid to use the presidential pulpit to amplify that power.

To honor this leadership, we will introduce a new JFK Award at the Commonwealth Awards Ceremony at the Massachusetts State House Feb. 15. This will be part of a year-long commemoration of Kennedy’s contribution to the arts and humanities. It neatly coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Mass Cultural Council, which along with the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities became lasting legacies of President Kennedy’s vision for the cultural life of our nation.

In addition, I will explore President Kennedy’s timeless perspective on the arts in a series of monthly columns. It is fascinating to consider President Kennedy’s words from a distance of more than half a century. Sixty-five percent of Americans are under 45 years old and were not even alive when Kennedy was President. Many if not most of you reading this may not have heard Kennedy or any President speak about the arts. There is power in the words that come from our nation’s highest office. It is a voice that can energize and inspire, resonating even after the voice is gone.

What is the role of artists in American politics? Do they have a place? How do they best serve our nation? As a new President prepares to take office, the voice of the artist is being heard. It is not just the artists with name and fame, such as Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes, that are in the headlines, but also the artists who contribute their individual identities and talent to the ensemble, where harmony and not division is required. From the cast of “Hamilton” and the Rockettes to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, individual artists in these organizations have become symbols of a country divided.

President Kennedy saw the arts and the artist as significant in the life of a nation. In fact, he saw them as central, a test of the quality of our institutions. He spoke to the role of the artist in a democratic society in a speech honoring the poet Robert Frost at Amherst College, October 26, 1963:

If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because of their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artists. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth…In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul.

It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society — in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having ‘nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.

President Kennedy believed that the power of the arts is embedded in the honesty of the artist. That is where truth is found. And while the arts can exist in a totalitarian society, there is an enabling relationship between the arts and democracy. As President Kennedy wrote in Look Magazine in December 1962, “…what freedom makes possible, a free society will make necessary.”

As we stand on the threshold of new leadership in Washington where the contours of freedom in America will be shaped, it is inevitable that artists will be barometers of truth and the measure of whether we reach our highest potential.

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Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
Executive Director: John Bracey
300 N. Washington Square
Lansing, MI 48913
Phone: 517-241-4011
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mcacaarts
On Twitter: @MiAdvantage

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and its Executive Director, John Bracey, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and its Executive Director, John Bracey, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Minnesota State Arts Board
Executive Director: Sue Gens
Park Square Court
400 Sibley Street, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55101-1928
Phone: 651-215-1600
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Minnesota-State-Arts-Board-102257819830782/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Minnesota State Arts Board and its Executive Director, Sue Gens, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Minnesota State Arts Board and its Executive Director, Sue Gens, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Mississippi Arts Commission
Executive Director: Malcolm White
501 North West Street
Suite 1101A, Woolfolk Building
Jackson, MS 39201
601-359-6030
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MississippiArtsCommission/
On Twitter: @MSArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months
The greatest value the MAC provides is access and equity; doing our part to make “the arts” available to all, and in our case to all 2.9 million people who call themselves our neighbors, our family and our fellow Mississippians. We especially value our role in providing arts education funding and initiatives of paramount importance.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
I, for one, do not anticipate public funding for the arts in America to go away, so therefore the concept of “post-NEA” is not front of mind. However, the value of providing the arts to all Americans should never change, regardless of the funding model.

Missouri Arts Council
Executive Director: Michael Donovan
815 Olive Street, Suite 16
St. Louis, MO 63101-1503
Phone: 314-340-6845
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/missouriartscouncil/
On Twitter: @MOArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Missouri Arts Council and its Executive Director, Michael Donovan, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Missouri Arts Council and its Executive Director, Michael Donovan, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Montana Arts Council
Interim Co-Executive Directors: Kristin Han Burgoyne and Cinda Holt
830 N. Warren Street
Helena, MT 59620
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 406-444-6430
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaArtsCouncil/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
Our agency’s mission states our indisputable value: to develop the creative potential of all Montanans, advance education, spur economic vibrancy and revitalize communities through involvement in the arts. We orient all our services and products to those values. During the past twelve months, as with every year, our services resulted in a positive impact on: 1) proving the public benefits derived from the arts, 2) proving economic impact gains by artists and arts organizations and 3) enhancing learning opportunities for all our citizens through the arts.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
We concur with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ letter sent January 3, 2017 that responded to this issue.

Story continues below.




Nebraska Arts Council
Executive Director: Suzanne Wise
1004 Farnam Street, Plaza Level
Omaha, NE 68102
Phone: 402-595-2122
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaArtsCouncil
On Twitter: @NEArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Nebraska Arts Council and its Executive Director, Suzanne Wise, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Nebraska Arts Council and its Executive Director, Suzanne Wise, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Nevada Arts Council
Executive Director: Susan Boskoff
716 North Carson Street, Suite A
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-687-6680
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nevada-Arts-Council-73958835926/
On Twitter:@nevadaarts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Nevada Arts Council and its Executive Director, Susan Boskoff, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Nevada Arts Council and its Executive Director, Susan Boskoff, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
Director: Ginnie Lupi
19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor
Concord, NH 03301-3570
Phone: 603-271-2789
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nharts50
On Twitter: @NHArts50

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Ginnie Lupi, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Ginnie Lupi, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Nicholas Paleologos
225 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0306
Phone: 609-292-6130
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NJStateCouncilontheArts
On Twitter: @NJSCA

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Nicholas Paleologos, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Nicholas Paleologos, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

New Mexico Arts
Executive Director: Loie Fecteau
Bataan Memorial Building
407 Galisteo, Suite 270
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: 505-827-6490
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nmarts.org
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
New Mexico Arts and its Executive Director, Loie Fecteau, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
New Mexico Arts and its Executive Director, Loie Fecteau, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

New York State Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Mara Manus
300 Park Avenue South, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 212-459-8800
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewYorkStateCouncilontheArts/
On Twitter: @NYSCArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The New York State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Mara Manus, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The New York State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Mara Manus, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

North Carolina Arts Council
Executive Director: Wayne Martin
109 E. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: 919-807-6500
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ncarts
On Twitter: @NCArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The North Carolina Arts Council and its Executive Director, Wayne Martin, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The North Carolina Arts Council and its Executive Director, Wayne Martin, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

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North Dakota Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Dr. Beth Klingenstein
1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 6
Bismarck, ND 58503
Phone: 701-328-7590
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDCouncilontheArts
On Twitter: @ndarts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The North Dakota Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Dr. Beth Klingenstein, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The North Dakota Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Dr. Beth Klingenstein, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture, Northern Mariana Islands
Executive Director: Parker Yobei
PO Box 5553, CHRB
Saipan, MP 96950
Phone: 670-322-9982 or 9983
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: n/a
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture, Northern Mariana Islands and its Executive Director, Parker Yobei, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture, Northern Mariana Islands and its Executive Director, Parker Yobei, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Ohio Arts Council
Executive Director: Donna Collins
Rhodes State Office Tower
30 East Broad Street, 33rd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-3414
Phone: 614-466-2613
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OhioArtsCouncilPage/
On Twitter: @OhioArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Ohio Arts Council and its Executive Director, Donna Collins, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Ohio Arts Council and its Executive Director, Donna Collins, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Oklahoma Arts Council
Executive Director: Amber Sharples
Jim Thorpe Building
2101 N. Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 640
Oklahoma City, OK 73152
Phone: 405-521-2931
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OklahomaArtsCouncil
On Twitter: @OKArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Oklahoma Arts Council and its Executive Director, Amber Sharples, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Oklahoma Arts Council and its Executive Director, Amber Sharples, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Oregon Arts Commission
Executive Director, Brian Rogers
775 Summer Street NE, Suite 200
Salem, OR 97301-1280
Phone: 503-986-0082
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OregonArtsCommission
On Twitter: @ORArtsComm

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Oregon Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Brian Rogers, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Oregon Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Brian Rogers, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Philip Horn
216 Finance Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-6883
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pennsylvaniacouncilonthearts
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Philip Horn, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Philip Horn, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Institute of Puerto Rican Culture
Executive Director: Jorge Irizarry Vizcarrondo
PO Box 9024184
San Juan, PR 00902-4184
Phone: 787-724-0700
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icppr
On Twitter: @icppr

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and its Executive Director, Jorge Irizarry Vizcarrondo, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and its Executive Director, Jorge Irizarry Vizcarrondo, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Randall Rosenbaum
One Capitol Hill, 3rd Floor
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-222-3880
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RIArtsCouncil/
On Twitter: @RISCA1967

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Randall Rosenbaum, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Randall Rosenbaum, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

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South Carolina Arts Commission
Executive Director: Ken May
1026 Sumter Street, Suite 200
Columbia, SC 29201-3746
Phone: 803-734-8696
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scartscommission
On Twitter: @scartscomm

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The South Carolina Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Ken May, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The South Carolina Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Ken May, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

South Dakota Arts Council
Director: Patrick Baker
711 E. Wells Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-3369
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 605-773-3301
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthDakotaArts
On Twitter: @SouthDakotaArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
Recognizing the importance of creativity in the lives of all South Dakotans, the S.D. Arts Council makes quality arts accessible throughout the state by providing encouragement, grants, services, and information to artists, arts organizations, schools, and the public. [For more detailed information, please refer to our strategic plan in the “Growing the Arts in South Dakota” brochure.]

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
Please see January 3, 2017, letter from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Tennessee Arts Commission
Executive Director: Anne Pope
401 Charlotte Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: 615-741-1701
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tnartscommission/
On Twitter: @TN_Arts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Tennessee Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Anne Pope, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Tennessee Arts Commission and its Executive Director, Anne Pope, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Texas Commission on the Arts
Executive Director: Gary Gibbs
E. O. Thompson Office Building
920 Colorado, Suite 501
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-463-5535
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Texas-Commission-on-the-Arts-41551890876/
On Twitter: @TXCommArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Texas Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Gary Gibbs, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Texas Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Gary Gibbs, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Utah Division of Arts and Museums
Director: Gay Cookson
617 E. South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Phone: 801-236-7555
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/utahartsandmuseums/
On Twitter: @ArtsandMuseums

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Utah Division of Arts and Museums and its Director, Gay Cookson, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Utah Division of Arts and Museums and its Director, Gay Cookson, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Story continues below.




Vermont Arts Council
Executive Director: Alexander L. Aldrich
136 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-6001
Phone: 802-828-3291
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontartscouncil/
On Twitter: @VTArtsCouncil

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
I quite agree with [Pam] Breaux’s assertion that imagining a “post-NEA world” is not a constructive way to approach this conversation and her reasons for that assertion.

That said, it is worth noting that so much of what people value about the arts is quixotic and largely “not measurable.” Anecdotes abound, however. For example, we developed an initiative two years ago — “Animating Infrastructure” — that encouraged collaborations between local artists and municipalities to work on tangible projects that would improve the aesthetic of the community in some way. Last spring I attended the opening of the Silos Project in Jeffersonville, VT, a tiny village in northern Vermont along the Lamoille River. Bell Gates Lumber had gone out of business a couple of decades earlier leaving behind two enormous concrete drying kilns (they were the size and shape of a large silo, hence the name). The local community had gotten used to these eyesores, but a couple of enterprising souls in the community said, let’s do something to improve the look of these things. They are the gateway to our community, after all.

Eighteen months ago they hired an artist, developed a community plan and with a small grant from us, created beautiful, culturally relevant (to the community) murals that completely captivated residents and visitors alike. It’s way too long to go into the details of the many public meetings, false starts, clashes of personalities that characterized this local community collaboration. But at the opening last spring (a community pot-luck supper), I had the pleasure of awaiting my turn to get food when a woman planted herself in front of me, grabbed my right hand in both of hers, leaned in and said with great intensity:

You have no idea what this project has meant for this town, do you? You have no idea how incredibly important this project was for us all. There was a time when I was beginning to despair of what we would become, but this project, this glorious project has completely shown everyone the value of coming together, setting aside our differences and looking for a shared outcome. Thank you, sir. Thank you so much.

We were both in tears, and frankly I was a little at a loss for words. Anyone would have been. So really, how do you measure that?

There are other similar stories with multiple anecdotes (The River of Light, The Danville Project, The Palettes Project) with which we have been directly involved in the past, or continue to be involved in as they have become annual activities. But I will leave you with one interesting fact about Vermont. Poetry Out Loud, the national poetry recitation contest for high school students, begun about 10 years ago by the NEA during Dana Gioia’s tenure as Chair, now engages more high school kids in the competition in Vermont than play organized football at the high school level in Vermont! That’s a statistic that you may not find particularly useful, but it does have the advantage of being indisputable evidence that in Vermont, the arts are everywhere!

Finally, it is worth noting that while the impact of the artwork itself may be difficult to measure, things like employment, state and municipal tax revenues, and school engagement are not as difficult to measure as they were only a few short years ago. We have learned from our colleagues in the social service and tax/finance departments how to ask the right kinds of questions that generate really useful data. For example the Creative Sector in Vermont, while small in absolute terms, is quite significant (32% larger than the average) relative to our population. Also, the nonprofit sector, including independent artists, generate between $14M and $15M a year in state and local tax revenue — an amount that is about 500% larger than the investment state and local governments make in the sector! Looked at from the tourism perspective, this means that of the total revenues generated by the tourism industry, about 10% is generated by the creative sector. For these reasons alone, we believe the relatively small investment by taxpayers in our work (about $2 per capita, including their investment in the National Endowment for the Arts) is well worth it.

Story continues below.




Virgin Islands Council on the Arts
Executive Director: Tasida Kelch
5070 Norre Gade, Ste 1
St. Thomas, VI 00802-6762
Phone: 340-774-5984
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Virgin-Islands-Council-on-the-Arts-335748489035/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Tasida Kelch, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts and its Executive Director, Tasida Kelch, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Virginia Commission for the Arts
Executive Director: Margaret Vanderhye
Main Street Centre
600 East Main Street, Suite 330
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-225-3132
Email: [email protected]
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaArts
On Twitter: @VirginiaArts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Virginia Commission for the Arts and its Executive Director, Margaret Vanderhye, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Virginia Commission for the Arts and its Executive Director, Margaret Vanderhye, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Washington State Arts Commission
Executive Director: Karen Hanan
711 Capital Way S., Suite 600
PO Box 42675
Olympia, WA 98504-2675
Email: n/a
Phone: 360-753-3860
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonArts
On Twitter: @ArtsWA

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?

  • 2012–2016. The Art in Public Places program (AIPP) worked with local committees to commission and purchase over 200 artworks, located in communities across Washington State; from Bellingham to Walla Walla, Vancouver to Spokane, and Orient to Seattle.
  • ArtsWA’s small grant writing investment helped Tieton Arts & Humanities Council successfully apply for a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant. The $50,000 received from the NEA was leveraged many times over. The grants supported Tieton Mosaic Project, an artisan apprenticeship program that supported a successful cottage industry and sparked community and student engagement in the town. Today, the town of “Mighty Tieton”, population 1,191 with a 64% Hispanic resident base, is a hub for artisan businesses and tourist destination activities.
  • 2012–2016. ArtsWA grants provided support to approximately 421 community projects across Washington State engaging approximately 3,815,000 individuals in arts-based learning, creative engagement, and economic ventures that served to enrich, unite and strengthen communities statewide and recognize the value of the arts to quality of life, lifelong education, and community and economic development.
  • 2012-2016. The Arts Commission leads our state’s participation in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest with over 21,000 students participating last year. Washington State also had the 3rd-highest number of students in the country, who participated at 70 high schools located in 23 of Washington’s 39 counties. In 2013, our state winner, Langston Ward from Spokane, went on to be the National Poetry Out Loud Champion.
  • ArtsWA tracks the state’s creative vitality index for Results WA, Goal 2. Recent data shows WA has 144,634 “creative jobs” with total industry earnings of $19.4B.
  • ArtsWA launches “My Public Art Portal” at www.artswa.org! More than 1,300 of the State Art Collection’s 4,500 artworks are now viewable and searchable online, and we are adding more every week. The Art in Public Places Program received a substantial grant from the OCIO’s office to implement this work. To be completed by 2019 (depending on funding).
  • 2016: ArtsWA Board increases the racial diversity of its 23-member board from 22% to 39% in four years.
  • With an investment of $320,000, our Arts in Education grants helped attract $2M in matching funds and supported high quality arts education experiences for over 110,000 young people in schools across our state.
  • An expansion of the Creative Forces program initiative is announced. ArtsWA will work closely with the National Endowment for the Arts who will provide funding for creative arts therapists, as well as program support at five new clinical sites nationally, including Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Washington State Arts Commission decline to directly answer this question.

Story continues below.




West Virginia Commission on the Arts
Director: Renée Margocee
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone: 304-558-0240
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wvdch/
On Twitter: n/a

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The West Virginia Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Renée Margocee, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The West Virginia Commission on the Arts and its Executive Director, Renée Margocee, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Wisconsin Arts Board
Executive Director: George Tzougros
PO Box 8690
Madison, WI 53708-8690
Phone: 608-266-0190
Email: [email protected]gov
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WisconsinArtsBoard
On Twitter: @WIArtsBoard

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Wisconsin Arts Board and its Executive Director, George Tzougros, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Wisconsin Arts Board and its Executive Director, George Tzougros, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

Wyoming Arts Council
Executive Director: Michael Lange
2301 Central Avenue, 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone: 307-777-7742
Email: n/a
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wyomingartscouncil
On Twitter: @wyomingarts

What is the most indisputable value demonstrated by your arts agency during the last 12 months?
The Wyoming Arts Council and its Executive Director, Michael Lange, decline to communicate the most indisputable value demonstrated by their agency during the last 12 months.

In a post-NEA world, will that value change — and if so, how?
The Wyoming Arts Council and its Executive Director, Michael Lange, decline to communicate how their agency will change if, as has been reported, the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded by the Trump Administration.

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  • MWnyc

    Leonard, did the other agencies actually send you the “decline to communicate” response, worded in that identicalway, or is that simply what you’ve put there after having received no reply from them at all?

    That’s important to clarify: it’s one thing if they’re simply not giving you a response; it’s another if they’re all responding with uniform language that’s evidently been supplied by someone else.

    (If that someone is you, it’s really not fair to them to make it look like they’re all sending out an identically worded “no comment.”)

    • Thank you for the question. The initial email, as noted in the story, was followed by the call I described in the story with Pam Breaux. We did agree to keep our conversation off the record, but suffice it to say I was encourage to do a round of follow-up emails and I further received her permission to cc her, so all the state arts agencies would know that I had spoken personally to the head of NASAA. My follow-up email specifically noted that phone call and while it acknowledged that NASAA would neither endorse nor discourage agencies from participating in the survey, CFR had agreed to publish NASAA’s statement as part of every agency’s response or non-response. On that same call with Pam, I made clear that CFR would publish the listing regardless of whether an agency replied with “no comment,” replied with a specific comment or replied with an answer to the first question and not the second (as in some cases). I further made clear that we would not just list the name of the agency and “no comment” but emphasize that the agency had chosen not to answer either question — and if they’re not answering the first question, clearly they’re choosing not to communicate, in any fashion, in any manner, the value they delivered to their state during 2016. That doesn’t mean, of course, that they can’t communicate the value they delivered through other means — that why we supply links to each agency’s website and the name of their ED and their phone number and address and major social media presence, so the interested reader can poke around for themselves. I find myself under zero obligation to merely publish “no comment,” given these various attempts to engage. It is a fact (and a real one, not an alternative one) that they declined to communicate this when asked. So the language is CFR’s, not theirs, and it is an accurate description of the situation and it comports with precisely what I indicated CFR would have to do in the event that the agencies elected not to respond to the first email or to the follow-up.

      You might also note that the article makes very clear that we will be more than happy to immediately update this article if any agencies wish to supply with any reply. Indeed, if an agency emailed me and asked that we change the text to “No comment,” that would clearly constitute a response and we would make that adjustment. When they chose not to communicate at all, they abdicate any influence on the message. The choice is theirs. And the nation deserves better.

      • MWnyc

        “I find CFR under zero obligation to merely publish “no comment,” given these various attempts to engage. It is a fact (and a real one, not an alternative one) that these 49 agencies declined to communicate. So the language is CFR’s, not theirs, and it is an accurate description of the matter, one that comports with precisely what I made clear to Pam that CFR would do.”

        Being clear that “the language is CFR’s, not theirs” may or may not be an obligation you owe to the agencies, but it is assuredly one you owe your readers.

        Your other points are well taken. Thank you much for this clarification.

        • Fair enough. I’ll write a note in the body of the article making that clear. Thanks again for engaging. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Llewellyn

    As the former, and last, executive director of the Kansas Arts Commission, I know what it is like to jump into the fray, risk everything, and fight for what is right. We must all do that now. My former colleagues at state arts agencies and the executive director of NASAA, for whom I have much respect, have nothing to lose now. This is an ideological battle that has nothing to do with money, facts. or the clear and vital value of the arts. I know that many state arts agencies are constrained by appointed boards who may disagree with staff on funding, or legislatures who hold the purse strings, or governors who are beholden to conservative or libertarian groups and funders. Many state arts agencies are forbidden by statute to lobby. But this is not lobbying, and if state arts leaders are afraid to speak out, then they must find surrogates. I am astonished at how weakly the arts field has mobilized. We must speak out now and we must mobilize now. We must sharpen our argument and our urgency and fight as if we have everything to lose. We must go for it, because if we don’t we will lose. Even if we do, we may lose. But we will stand for what is right. I will never regret fighting with everything I had for the arts in Kansas in 2011.
    Thank you, Leonard, for continuing to advocate on behalf of state art agencies and the people they serve.

    • Marissa Chibas

      What do these surrogates look like? How to organize? We need lobbyists as other interest groups have. MN has a strong art lobby I have heard and send daily or at least weekly emails to the community to take action on. We need to invest in the lobbyists that can strengthen our position. It would be wonderful if we didn’t have to, but this is true reality, especially in a Trump America.

      • Agreed. We absolutely need people and organizations to advocate and lobby. What we don’t need is for arts leaders to tell advocates and lobbyists to do nothing, to relax because “We’ve got this” and not to worry because, contrary to all indications, Republicans aren’t really against federal arts funding. If you buy that last one, I have a war in Iraq to sell you.

        Our arts leaders in DC are supposed to have the skills and the dynamism and the wherewithal to organize us all. To activate, to mobilize. Not to make excuses and to obfuscate. Look at Americans for the Arts. As reported in my story, AFTA right now is telling people to a) post on Facebook, b) tweet and c) send money to the Arts Action Fund. This is not advocacy.

        Similarly, when the head of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies emails the head of each state agency and specifically tells them to do nothing for now (“We’ve got this”!), that’s deeply disheartening. No volume of reassurance that arts agencies are “advocating differently” will ever be as powerful and, frankly, as persuasive as actually doing something transparent and galvanizing.

        So, Marissa, we have to do it ourselves. We have to make noise. We have to hold our arts leaders’ feet to the fire. Because if we don’t, they are telling us, loud and clear, that there is no guarantee they are really in the corner of arts and culture. Frankly, it feels like they’re just in it for themselves.

      • Llewellyn

        Most states have “citizens for the arts” groups; surrogates are community leaders, arts board members, arts educators, newspaper editors, arts administrators and artists — anyone who believes in public funding for the arts. A case is prepared and everyone speaks the same way about the value for the arts while writing letters to the editor, showing up at town halls, holding rallies, standing for elected office, emailing and phoning legislators. It can work, but we need to mobilize and make a ruckus. In small, rural areas, legislators are visible members of their communities. It is embarrassing to them to be known as the people who hate the arts programs that their children, grandchildren, elderly parents and neighbors value and enjoy — and deserve. Lobbyists are important too, but what they will do is activate the grass roots and grass tops — it is those people who make a difference.

  • Pam Breaux

    Regarding the discussion of the lack of responses from state arts agencies, please be clear on this point: state arts agencies are not abdicating their advocacy responsibilities; they are advocating differently. They are building bridges with the federal and
    state authorizers whose support is needed to sustain the arts. Remember that effective advocacy requires many harmonized voices, and takes different forms. But, in all its forms, good advocacy is civil and fact-based. It cannot assert, as this blog does, that, “Republicans do not believe government should fund the arts.” That’s inaccurate.* Generalizations about either party may offer short-term catharsis, but they are unlikely to yield the long-term results that we all want, which is for leaders of all political persuasions to feel proud of supporting – and even increasing – America’s investment in the arts and culture. State arts agencies know this, and THAT’S why some of them opted not to be part of your column, Leonard.

    *Fact: The last time we had a Republican President, appropriations to the NEA increased by $40 million, while Republicans controlled both Chambers of Congress for four of those eight years.

    • Respectfully, “advocating differently” is painfully close to “alternative facts.”

      Here’s a fact: Republicans do not believe government should fund the arts. This link is to the final draft for the Republican platform for the 2016 campaign: https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL%5B1%5D-ben_1468872234.pdf. Does it mention the National Endowment for the Arts? Seems to me missing. The most casual and cursory Internet search brings up no shortage of articles to prove the GOP’s longstanding antipathy toward federal arts funding. Here’s an article from US News and World Report from right after the Republican takeover of Congress in 2011: http://www.usnews.com/news/washington-whispers/articles/2011/01/20/house-gop-lists-25-trillion-in-spending-cuts. This isn’t new. This is a battle that must be fought again and again. You demand that we all just take your word for it, per the email that you sent to the heads of state arts agencies, that all will be will.

      I would be glad, and proven right, to sit here all day showing you link after link and article after article demonstrating the GOP’s antipathy toward public arts funding. So if you want to talk about short-term catharsis by accusing me of generalizing, I might respectfully remind you that, unlike “alternative facts,” what I stated is not a generalization but a fact — a real fact. Let’s not put lipstick on a pig and call it something else.

      State arts agencies opted not to participate in the survey — not even so much to type in “No comment” and daintily press the send button — because you specifically told the head of those agencies “We’ve got this” in the email that you sent to them, which was provided to the CFR through a source and which we published. You told them to do nothing — at least for now.

      That’s not good enough.

      The last time we had a Republican President, NEA appropriations did rise. That, too, is a fact — blissfully, not an alternative one. The NEA’s budget, however, has never paced with inflation, and you omit that. Convenient. I might add that the last time we had a Republican President, he stood before the US Congress and knowingly lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction and tens of thousands of lives and treasure were murdered or maimed in the battlefield. If you honestly believe that this Republican President is just like the last one, then there are no bridges to build, Pam. It suggests that you do not stand on the side of artists.