Tennessee Arts Commission Statement on the Proposed Elimination of Federal Arts Funding

By Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

Today we learned that the President’s FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Under current federal law, 40% of NEA funds are allocated to states and regions for authorized purposes according to state priorities. In Tennessee, arts funding priorities are tied to a well-rounded education for all children, economic and community development, tourism, quality of life and preservation of our unique heritage.

In state FY 2017, the Tennessee Arts Commission was awarded $799,900 for arts and arts education grants and programs. The NEA awarded 23 additional direct grants to Tennessee organizations totaling $650,000. Total NEA funding awarded to Tennessee organizations in FY 2017 is $1.45 million. Additionally, the NEA reports that every grant dollar awarded leverages more than $9 in matching funds and other contributions.

This afternoon, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and state arts agencies from across the nation, including the Tennessee Arts Commission, had a conference call with representatives from the NEA. The NEA staff indicated that the agency will continue to operate as usual and will do so until Congress enacts a new budget. Agency staff further noted that the President’s budget request is a step in the federal budget process and that it is ultimately up to Congress to pass the budget, as it holds the constitutional authority to appropriate funds to federal agencies. 

The NEA staff noted that it is expected that the President’s budget proposal will be considered over the next several months with Congressional action expected by September 30, 2017. This action will set federal funding levels for NEA grants to the Tennessee Arts Commission and other awardees in Tennessee for the state fiscal year period of July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019. In the meantime, the federal government is operating under a Continuing Resolution. Congressional action to set funding for Tennessee’s upcoming state fiscal year of July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018, will be needed by the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution on April 28, 2017.

We will keep you informed on further developments. I hope this information is helpful to you.

For more information, visit the NEA website or the NASAA statement. 

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