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Funding for NEA May Get Boost from Congress

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Testimonials came from the likes of Americans for the Arts Director Robert Lynch (left), Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter and "Desperate Housewives" actor Kyle MacLachlan.
Stephanie Kaye
Testimonials came from the likes of Americans for the Arts Director Robert Lynch (left), Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter and "Desperate Housewives" actor Kyle MacLachlan.

On Capitol Hill, the House Appropriations Subcommittee is considering alocating $180 million for the National Endowment for the Arts next year. Forty percent of that money goes directly to state arts organizations.

For 2011, the Obama Administration requested 6 million dollars LESS for the NEA than last year. Congressman Jim Moran thinks lawmakers will give the NEA more money than requested. Moran represents Virginia's 8th District, and agrees with the NEA's director Rocco Landesman, who says arts funding has an economic "ripple effect" in communities. "My guess is we're going to restore it to last year's funding. Mr. Landesman fully understands the role that arts plays in the economic development of communities."

Moran is enthusiastic about the arts as a means of economic development - from theaters in Arlington to the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria. "We made torpedoes there! And then converted it to arts studios. That's the kind of thing that, in the long run, is a stimulant to our economy. Signature Theater in Arlington plays the same kind of role."

But he warns that states that withold funding from their arts councils, in the hope that the federal government will pick up the slack, will be disappointed.

Stephanie Kaye reports...

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