Support Arts Advocacy Day 2011


On April 5th, arts advocates from around the country will descend on Capitol Hill to ask Congress to support the arts. Your performing arts colleagues will be joining
other arts supporters to carry the message to support the arts to the offices of their Representatives and their Senators. But that is not enough – we need your input as well! Every member of Congress, in every state, needs to hear from the performing arts organizations in their communities, and that is where you come in.

Even though you are not here in person, you can help make this a national day of action in support of the arts. Add your voice to the chorus by contacting your members of Congress on Arts Advocacy Day and urge them to support the issues you care about. Ask them to:

*  Support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts,
*  Support funding for the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education,
*  Preserve incentives for charitable giving, including tax deductibility and the IRA Rollover,
*  Support legislation ensuring timely visa processing for foreign guest artists, and
*  Increase funding for cultural exchange.

Below is an example of what you can say. Please edit the letter and tell your own story. Be sure to tell your members of Congress the programs that would be at risk and the people you would not be able to serve if federal arts funding was reduced or lost.

The Performing Arts Alliance is a National Co-Sponsor of Arts Advocacy Day and a member of the Legislative Planning Committee.

Click Take Action below to generate your letter and contact your legislators today. Your voice makes a difference!

Take Action

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Your Senators
Your Representative

Below is a sample letter:

Subject: Support Federal Arts Funding

Dear [decision maker name inserted here],

On behalf of my organization and the audiences and communities we serve, this Arts Advocacy Day, I encourage you to enhance and strengthen the performing arts by supporting the following actions:

*Support Funding for the NEA – I urge you to support a budget of $167.5 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA widens citizen access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and advances creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

*Support Funding for Arts Education – I urge you to support a budget of $40 million for the U.S. Department Arts in Education program. The Arts in Education program supports newly emerging education models in high-poverty schools that improve arts learning.

*Support Incentives for Charitable Giving – I urge you to preserve incentives for charitable giving, including tax deductibility and the IRA Rollover, and reject attempts to create a hierarchy of deductions to nonprofits that discriminates against arts and culture by reducing tax deductibility of charitable gifts.

*Improve Visa Processing – I urget you to support legislation that would reduce the total processing time for visa petitions filed by, or on behalf of, nonprofit arts-related organizations to a maximum of 45 days.

*Increase Funding for Cultural Exchange – I urge you to support a $10 million increase for the Cultural Programs Division of the State Department’s Office of Citizen Exchanges. Cultural exchange enhances international understanding creating an environment for more effective diplomacy and provides access to global perspectives that promote participation in a global society.

Decisions made by Congress impact public access to the performing arts and the health and vitality of the performing arts community. I encourage you to support policies that support the performing arts and the audiences we serve.


[Your name inserted here]

What’s At Stake:

It is up to us – the artists, administrators, and audience members – to explain the value of the performing arts to public policy makers. Advocacy is about educating and informing elected officials about the importance of the performing arts. Use the additional talking points below to educate your Representative and Senators about the issues that matter to you.

National Endowment for the Arts – The NEA is a critical source of federal support for performing arts organizations around the country. Through direct grants and support to state arts agencies, the NEA awards more than 2,400 grants each year to nonprofit performing arts organizations for projects that encourage artistic creativity. Despite overwhelming support by the American public for spending federal tax dollars in support of the arts, the NEA has never recovered from a 40
percent budget cut in the mid-nineties and its programs are under funded.

Arts in Education Program – The U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program provides federal support to performing arts organizations to develop and disseminate model programs that integrate arts instruction into other subject areas. Arts in Education programs have continued to create model initiatives and partnerships that are significantly impacting large numbers of students and educators.

Incentives for Charitable Giving – Policies that encourage charitable giving, such as a deduction for contributions to charities, enabling individuals to roll over IRA funds to charities without penalty, and allowing artists to take a fair-market value deduction for giving their own works to charities are important to the continuing vitality of the nonprofit performing arts sector.

Visa Processing for Foreign Guest Artists – American nonprofit performing arts organizations provide an important public service by presenting foreign guest artists in performances, educational events, and cultural programs in communities across the country. Delays and unpredictability by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are making it increasingly difficult for international artists to appear in the United States. There is a continuing risk that foreign guest artists will be unable to enter the United States in time for their engagements, causing financial burdens on nonprofit arts organizations, the international artist, and the local artists that were scheduled to perform alongside the international guest.

Cultural Exchange – The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the State Department is responsible for the public diplomacy activities of the United States, including international cultural exchange programs. Increased funding for the Cultural Programs Division will strengthen exchange and collaboration in the arts and cultural fields that build bridges among people of different countries, cultures, and faiths.

The Performing Arts Alliance is a national network of more than 18,000 members comprising the professional, nonprofit performing arts and presenting fields.
Membership in the Performing Arts Alliance is a member service of American Music Center, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chorus America, Dance/USA, Fractured Atlas, League of American Orchestras, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, National Performance Network, OPERA America, and Theatre Communications Group.

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