President Bush Signs Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Yesterday, December 26, President George W. Bush signed an omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2008 that includes $144.7 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This represents an increase of $20.1 million over the 2007 funding level of $124.562 million.
It is the largest dollar increase in the NEA appropriation since 1979 and will allow the agency to devote more funds to direct grants to arts organizations and to extend the reach of the agency's National Initiatives that support touring and arts education in theater, music, dance, literature, and the visual arts. The highest level of the NEA's appropriation was $175.9 million in FY 1992. The new appropriation raises the NEA to its highest level in 13 years.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, "The strong bipartisan support of Congress and the Administration for the NEA demonstrates the value of the agency's programs. This budget will afford us even greater opportunities to bring excellent art and arts education to all Americans through direct grants, which now extend to every community, and through our National Initiatives such as American Masterpieces, The Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, and Shakespeare in American Communities. The National Initiatives have reached more than 20 million students throughout the country. More theater, more music, more dance, more literature, more visual arts, and more arts education will now be available to more Americans."
The bill also includes changes in the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program of the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities that is administered by the NEA. Created by Congress in 1975 to facilitate international exhibitions, the program has made it possible for museum attendees across the country to see important works of art from around the globe. The changes authorize a substantial increase in federal indemnity. This increase will support a domestic component to the program which defrays insurance costs when American museums loan works to one another.
Chairman Gioia notes, "The new legislation is enormously important both to American museums and to the millions of people who visit them each year. It allows American museums to share their collections with one another in an affordable way. The skyrocketing cost of insuring art exhibitions is a major issue. The domestic program will do immeasurable good in increasing access to great visual art across the country."
The bill also includes statutory language for an honorific award to artists working in opera that is similar to the NEA's Jazz Master Awards and National Heritage Fellowships. Said Chairman Gioia, "It is important for America to honor its great artists and their work. This new award category will give the NEA an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of this nation's great -- but often neglected -- musical art forms. We'll have much more to report about this in the coming months."
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts -- both new and established -- bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
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National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
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