Advocating for the Arts

The National Endowment for Arts:
An Investment in America

Founded in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts provides critical funding for non-profit arts programs and is the largest annual national source of funding for the arts. The NEA supports theater festivals, local arts centers, folk arts, literature programs, arts projects in schools and much more across the country in cities, small towns and rural areas. Beyond its own expenditures, the NEA acts as a catalyst for private giving. Each dollar in NEA funding is estimated to generate seven dollars in matching grants from private sources.

At an annual funding level of $170 million the NEA represents only about 54 cents per American per year. For that small investment, the returns to our culture and our economy are enormous.

  • Arts are a key driver of our economy and an engine of job creation for Americans. A recent study by the Americans for the Arts found that U.S. not-for-profit arts generate more than $166 billion in economic activity each year, supporting 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs. Roughly 3 million Americans earn a living working directly in the creation or distribution of art.
  • Theaters and arts organizations are central to maintaining and revitalizing neighborhoods and communities across the country.
  • Arts are America’s second largest export behind agriculture. The creativity fostered by the non-profit arts world is essential to maintaining our global preeminence in the creation of arts entertainment.
  • Children with exposure to and involvement with the arts outperform their peers in school, score higher on standardized tests and are more likely to graduate.

We encourage you to e-mail and fax your Senators and Representative and ask them to support the arts.

CLICK HERE for Senators contact information
CLICK HERE for Representatives contact information.