81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

ARTS FUNDING

WHEREAS, the arts, humanities and museums are critical to the quality of life and livability of America's cities; and

WHEREAS, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Office of Museum Services (OMS) within the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are the primary federal agencies that provide federal funding for the arts, humanities and museum programs, activities, and efforts in the cities and states of America; and

WHEREAS, the NEA's and the NEH's 48 years of promoting cultural heritage and vitality throughout the nation has built a cultural infrastructure in this nation of arts and humanities agencies in every state, more than 95,000 nonprofit arts organizations, and 5,000 local arts agencies in cities throughout the country; and

WHEREAS, federal arts funding leverages up to four times more in matching funds from state and local governments, private foundations, corporations and individuals in communities across the nation to support the highest quality cultural programs in the nation; and

WHEREAS, federal arts funding to cities, towns and states has helped stimulate the growth of local arts agencies in America's cities and counties with $727 million annually in local government funding, $279 million in state government funding to the arts, $138.4 million each for the NEA and NEH and $13.1 billion in private giving to the arts; and

WHEREAS, federal funding for cultural activities stimulates local economies and improves the quality of civic life throughout the country — the NEA, NEH and IMLS support programs, such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) that enhance community development, promote cultural planning, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw significant cultural tourism dollars, and improve the overall quality of life in our cities and towns; and

WHEREAS, federal funding for cultural activities is essential to promote full access to and participation in exhibits, performances, arts education and other cultural events regardless of family income; and

WHEREAS, the NEA’s “Our Town” initiative invests $5 million in grants to 80 communities in 44 states to support planning and design projects, and arts engagement strategies; and

WHEREAS, in the 2013 National Arts Index, conducted by Americans for the Arts, a measure of the health and vitality of the arts in the United States, composed of 77 equal-weighted, national-level indicators of arts and culture activity that covers the 14-year period from 1998 to 2011, found that while the Index decreased 1.1 percent in 2011, from 97.4 to 96.3, federal funding for the arts remains crucial given the 6.5 point overall decline from 102.8 in 2007; and

WHEREAS, federal, state and local financial support for the arts has fallen over the last decade, additional NEA funding to support a competitive local re-granting program should be re-established to provide incentives for local governments to invest in targeted ways in the arts by infusing $5-10 million in new dedicated federal funding to local arts agencies, which would be matched to spur new local investment; and

WHEREAS, the NEA plays a very important role in developing partnerships with other federal agencies such as HUD, Education and Transportation, in order to open new channels for arts organizations to work with all aspects of government,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Office of Museum Services within the Institute of Museum and Library Services and calls upon Congress to support a level closer to the President’s budget request to fund these agencies in the FY 2014 appropriations bills at $154 million each for the NEA and NEH, and $38.6 million for museums within the IMLS to serve arts organizations of all sizes in communities across the country; and  

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the federal government to invest in nonprofit arts organizations through local arts agencies as a catalyst to generate economic impact, create jobs, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract tourists and area residents to community activities, and to improve the overall quality of life in America’s cities.

Projected Cost: Unknown


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013