Congress Acknowledges Importance of #RightToBearArts

Statement from The Creative Coalition
on the
Fiscal Year 2018
Omnibus Appropriations Bill

March 21, 2018 (Washington, DC) – The Creative Coalition appreciates the $152,849,000, an increase of over $2 million from last year, that Congress provided for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill released today.  In allocating this increase of funding and rejecting the proposed elimination of the NEA by the Administration, Congress acknowledged the importance of the Right to Bear Arts for all Americans. The FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill is expected to be approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President before the end of the week.

In light of the fiscal challenges facing our nation, this level of funding for the NEA signals an important recognition of the value of the arts to our economy and to building strong communities. According to data released earlier this month1, the arts and cultural trade surplus has generally been widening since 2006.  In 2015, the arts as an economic sector experienced a $20 billion trade surplus – welcome news when talk of trade deficits is the norm.  Additionally, the arts have outpaced the 2.4 percent average growth rate of the nation’s overall economy by achieving an average growth rate of 2.6 percent between 2012 and 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, the arts’ growth rate was 4.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.  The arts have been particularly impactful in growing the nation’s rural communities. In 2015, arts and cultural production contributed $67.5 billion to the economies of U.S. rural states. 

“The programs carried out by the National Endowment for the Arts enable more Americans to have access to, and participate in the Arts. It is the mission of The Creative Coalition’s Right to Bear Arts campaign to help Americans develop an appreciation for the Arts regardless of their profession or geographical location.” said actor and President of The Creative Coalition Tim Daly. “We thank Congressional leaders in the House and Senate for defending the Right to Bear Arts and protecting this funding that not only preserves our human right of artistic expression, but also is a significant value-add to our economy.”

Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition, added, “Increased funding and a bipartisan rejection of the proposed elimination of the NEA are music to our ears. Now, more than ever, we need the arts to build vibrant communities, serve as a creative outlet during these divisive times and be the engine for American ingenuity and innovation. The Creative Coalition will continue to the work with Congress on the Right to Bear Arts and to maintain NEA funding in future fiscal years.”

[1] The U.S. Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (1998-2015), U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis and NEA Office of Research & Analysis, March 6, 2018.