LITTLE ROCK – Today, Arkansas Arts Council Executive Director Patrick L. Ralston released this statement about the elimination of federal arts funding in the president’s proposed budget for Federal Fiscal Year 2018:
“Last week we learned that the president’s proposed budget for Federal Fiscal Year 2018, set to take effect Oct. 1, 2017, includes the elimination of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
“Under the current federal budget law, 40 percent of NEA funds are allocated to state arts authorities like the Arkansas Arts Council to be used for authorized purposes according to the state’s priorities. The Arkansas Arts Council’s funding priorities include grants and services to support the arts as part of a well-rounded education, as an engine for tourism and economic development, and as a way to study and preserve our state’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.
“In the current State Fiscal Year 2017, the Arkansas Arts Council received $755,650 from NEA for arts and arts education grants and programs, constituting 30 percent of our operating budget and 35 percent of our statewide grants budget. During that same period, NEA has awarded 17 additional direct grants to Arkansas arts organizations totaling $327,500.
“The most recent economic report commissioned by NEA in 2016 found that every grant dollar awarded leverages more than $9 in matching funds and other contributions in the community served.
In a March 16, 2017, statement, NEA Chairman Jane Chu indicated that the agency will continue to operate as usual and will do so until Congress enacts a new budget. Only Congress can pass the budget, as it holds the constitutional authority to appropriate funds to federal agencies.
“The budget proposal will be considered over the next several months with congressional action expected by Sept. 30, 2017. This action will set federal funding levels for NEA grants to the Arkansas Arts Council and other awardees in Arkansas for State Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018.
“The Arkansas Arts Council, along with our national and regional partners, will continue monitoring the federal budget process, and will keep the public informed on any changes to our funding or grant programs.
“For more information on how state arts agencies use NEA funds, visit the NEA website or the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).”
About the Arkansas Arts Council
The Arkansas Arts Council advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs.
The Arkansas Arts Council is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Other agencies are the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Department of Arkansas Heritage
The mission of the Department of Arkansas Heritage is to identify Arkansas’s heritage and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s natural, cultural and historic resources. This is accomplished through the work of four museums, the Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum; and four heritage resource agencies, the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Arkansas State Archives.