President Bush Requests $18 Million Budget Increase for National Endowment for the Arts, Largest Since 1984
Mrs. Laura Bush Announces Increase to Fund New American Masterpieces Initiative, a Touring and Education Project
January 29, 2004
Washington, D.C. - Mrs. Laura Bush announced today that President George W. Bush is requesting an $18 million budget increase for the National Endowment for the Arts to fund a major new initiative, American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius. This ambitious three-year program will combine arts presentations with education programming to introduce Americans to the best of their cultural and artistic legacy. American Masterpieces will sponsor presentations of the great American works across all art forms, and will reach large and small communities in all 50 states.
The President's request would raise the Arts Endowment's budget by $18 million from $121 million in FY 2004 to $139.4 million, the largest increase since 1984. Fifteen million dollars of the increase would fund the American Masterpieces initiative, with the remainder going toward other grantmaking and administrative costs. The new budget also includes more than $53 million in support for state arts organizations and underserved local communities.
At a news conference held today in Washington, Mrs. Bush said, "I am very pleased to announce the President's strong support for this initiative and for the arts in this country. Through American Masterpieces, citizens will reconnect with our Nation's great artistic achievements and rich cultural heritage. I'm especially pleased at the program's focus on arts education, as it is crucial that the knowledge and appreciation of our cultural legacy begins in our schools."
"American Masterpieces is the most ambitious undertaking in the NEA's history. It will encompass multiple art forms and will reach hundreds of cities, large and small, across all 50 states, as well as thousands of schools and dozens of military bases," said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. "We will bring the masterpieces of American culture from painting to modern dance, theater to jazz, classical music to literature."
American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Genius will consist of three components - touring, local presentations, and arts education. Programs presenting acknowledged masterpieces selected from a wide variety of art forms will tour to large and small communities in all 50 states. The first year will highlight dance, visual arts and music. For example, America's great dance repertoire will be performed by the Martha Graham Company and the Paul Taylor Company.
Local presentations will be supported so that institutions throughout the country can create programs consistent with the overall theme. Arts education will make up a substantial portion of the initiative, both by bringing an unprecedented number of students to the exhibitions, presentations and performances, and by creating substantial and engaging in-school programs.
The new project will be implemented in partnership with a variety of public and private organizations nationwide, leveraging the NEA's $15 million investment with additional matching funds. While the agency requires its grants be matched on a one-to-one basis, many organizations raise up to eight times the amount.
The American Masterpieces project builds on the success of two national initiatives launched in the last year: Shakespeare in American Communities and the NEA Jazz Masters program. Shakespeare in American Communities is bringing professional productions of Shakespeare and educational activities to more than 100 communities in all 50 states, including U.S. military bases. The NEA Jazz Masters program is expanding, increasing the number of honorees to six, raising the amount of the award to $25,000, adding a touring component, and producing a commemorative CD.
In addition to its national initiatives, the Arts Endowment will continue its role as the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, providing grants in established categories to arts organizations across the country.
For more information, contact the NEA Office of Communications at 202-682-5570 or visit the NEA Web site at www.arts.gov. For a complete NEA funding history, visit http://www.nea.gov/about/Facts/AppropriationsHistory.html
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency