We hear a lot of talk these days about freedom. And to be sure, freedom means something different to each person. As arts advocates, one freedom that we may take for granted is the non-wavering support of arts and culture through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The NEA is a small agency that enables ArtsWestchester and other similar organizations in every corner of the country to give voice to the interesting and meaningful artistic expressions that reflect our times. Over the many years that I have been privileged to be the CEO of ArtsWestchester, our organization has received consistent funding from the NEA to support the artist workforce and provide exposure for creative work to be shown in our gallery. The NEA budget is relatively small when compared to other federal agencies; however, it is one of the few places that supports individuality, diversity, and vision. It supports insightful, creative practices that represent the plurality of our country through grants that are modest but effective. ArtsWestchester has been able to receive $445K in funding over the past 10 years for exhibitions and grants that reflect the breadth of creativity in our region.
This year, the President’s budget request for the NEA has been recommended at $211 million dollars, slightly more than last year. Budget negotiations are ongoing right now, and there is nothing like a letter from home to stress the importance of this federal funding to our community. Please work your magic, as you always do, and send a message to Congress on behalf of the NEA and its equitable and insightful national arts support.
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About Janet Langsam
During her time at the helm of ArtsWestchester, the organization – formerly known as the Westchester Arts Council – has grown from a $1 million to a $6 million agency and has excelled at making the arts more visible, diverse and accessible for all. ArtsWestchester offers financial and marketing support to emerging arts groups, cultural institutions and grassroots activities throughout Westchester County.