The compromise economic-stimulus package Congress passed Friday restores funding for the arts. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.
The stimulus bill that originated in the House included $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, an item that the Senate eliminated from the version it passed.
It was good news to arts advocates, including David Cupps of the advocacy group Arts Kentucky.
“The idea that they have directed the federal government to preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector is really a great recognition to the work that we do and how important these jobs are to our local economies,” Cupps says.
Some Senators had justified the exclusion calling the funding “pork spending,” while arts advocates defended it with data about how the arts provide jobs and stimulate the economy.
Cupps says Kentucky will get some of the money.
“We should be getting several hundred thousand dollars that will help to preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector and additional funds through grants that are available through a competitive basis to Kentucky organizations,” he says.
The NEA will distribute 40 percent of the money to state arts agencies and 60 percent through competitive grants to individual artists.
The move comes during an economic crisis which promoted state government to cut the Kentucky Arts Council’s budget by nearly 16 percent.
The stimulus package has about $787-billion in spending and tax cuts. It’s aim is to create jobs and lift the country out of recession.