National Endowment for the Arts Funding in Jeopardy-School of Architecture - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, February 14, 2011

National Endowment for the Arts Funding in Jeopardy

A Critical Message from CFA Dean, Dan Martin

Each one of us needs take a few moments to send a message to our respective U.S. senators and house representatives calling on them to reject the severe cuts proposed for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  The message must stress the negative effect of these cuts on the states and representative districts back home.

Within the past few days, the situation has escalated.  Late this week, the House Appropriations Committee made even deeper cuts to the NEA (and dozens of other programs and agencies).  The proposed cut to the NEA is now set at $22.5 million, an increase over an initial proposal of cutting $12 million; this represents the largest cut to the NEA in 16 years.

A recent Washington Post story covering these budget cuts contains a rather dire warning:  "[The Republican Study Committee] ranks swollen with enthusiastic freshman who have never taken calls from constituents angry about loss of a favored program threatened to oppose the package on the House floor next week unless deeper cuts were adopted." It is quite possible that the Republican Study Committee will offer amendments to FULLY ELIMINATE the NEA during floor consideration.

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has asked ALL of us to help: "By taking two minutes today to send a customizable message via our E-Advocacy Center, we will automatically send letters on your behalf to both your Senators and your House Representative.  This will ensure that your voice will be heard by Members of Congress (especially freshmen members), who are now assessing their constituents’ viewpoints on these budget cuts.  Please contact The E-Advocacy Center.

STUDENTS: Please send this message to your home district representatives.

My experience tells me that an individual message from you to your representative will carry more weight.  If you can afford the extra time, please use AFTA's text as the foundation of a personalized and direct letter or email.  If that's impossible, use the E-Advocacy Center service.  The most important thing is do SOMETHING and do it quickly.

By: Dan Martin, Dean, CFA