A child's early introduction to ballet teaches strength and discipline. A veteran's exposure to art therapy brings healing and hope. A student's participation in music class improves math scores and critical thinking skills. Art shapes achievement, with profound and practical effects.
Still more, art anchors communities. In American cities and towns, arts institutions and districts are breathing life into neighborhoods—attracting investment, spurring development, fueling innovation, and creating jobs. Arts and culture help power the U.S. economy at the astounding level of $704.2 billion each year.
Beyond our shores, American arts institutions are the envy of the world. In a unique public-private model, private sources provide the vast majority of funding for our artists and arts organizations. Government helps in targeted ways at pivotal moments, for example, by providing early funding to get projects off the ground or helping to create or expand promising initiatives to achieve greater reach and impact.
Underlying all of this is the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more than 50 years, the NEA has provided leadership in the public arts arena. Yet today it faces an uncertain future as its federal funding is considered for elimination. The total cost of the NEA is less than one dollar a year for every American. But because it is so successful and its imprimatur so prestigious, every dollar the NEA contributes leads to nine additional dollars being donated from other sources.
A great America needs that kind of return.
We hold close the words of Lincoln Center’s inaugural president, John D. Rockefeller III, who said, "The arts are not for the privileged few, but for the many. Their place is not on the periphery of daily life, but at its center. They should function not merely as another form of entertainment but, rather, should contribute significantly to our well-being and happiness."
Read full statement here