Federal support of the arts is critical.

The NEA provided about $1.45 Million to Tennessee organizations including support for the Tennessee Arts Commission which flows into Shelby County to help educate children, employ artists, and generate economic activity.

Details Here

There has never been a more important time to contact your legislators.

The Trump administration's proposal calls for eliminating four cultural agencies and their collective $971 million budgets. Most of the funds support nonprofit groups across the country, such as dance companies, radio stations, orchestras and theaters.

  • Eliminates all $148 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and all $148 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Eliminates the $230 million Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Eliminates the $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public television and radio, including PBS and NPR

The White House released its proposed budget to Congress today (3.16.17), officially recommending full termination of funding of both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY2018. This is the first American President in history to propose zeroing out all funding for the nation’s federal cultural agencies. 

Eliminating the NEA would be a devastating blow to the arts in America. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries. The NEA is also an economic powerhouse, generating more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helping to shape a $730 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation’s GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs.
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The federal appropriations process does not end here. We now begin a concerted grassroots effort to convince Congress to #SaveTheNEA. Here are the actions you can take right now:

1. The most important thing you can do is to take two minutes to send a customizable message to your elected representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose any attempt to eliminate or cut funding to the NEA.

2. Post on Facebook and Twitter to help rally national support to save the NEA. There is strength in numbers and your social media friends can help. 

3. Contribute to the Arts Action Fund PAC to help ensure we have the resources to support pro-arts Congressional candidates who will help us save the NEA.

In the News

Below are links to recent news articles about the potential funding cuts to the arts. Please take a moment to learn the facts, contact legislators, and spread the word so others may do the same.

Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2017

By Randy I. Cohen, Feb 14, 2017, Americans for the Arts

This year’s changes include the following:

  • #1 and #2 highlight new research about the public’s belief that the arts improve personal well-being and unify our communities.
  • #4 updates the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account, showing a $26 billion rise in the arts contribution to the economy.
  • #10 calls out the importance of the arts in helping our returning military service members to heal and reintegrate back into their families and communities.

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#ArtMatters | Memphis postcard campaign to protect arts funding

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Want to advocate for the arts but don't know where to start?

View the Advocacy Toolkit for Individuals

View the Advocacy Toolkit for Organizations

Immediate Actions to Take:

  •  Register to attend (DC Link) Arts Advocacy Day. The policy briefings and advocacy strategies presented there are directly applicable to local purposes.

  •  Make sure you and your colleagues are signed up for the Arts Action Fund E-Advocacy  alerts – that’s how we notify the sector of the latest legislative actions, threats and responses.

  •  Look for ways to engage your members of Congress at home (House and Senate). Make sure they’re on the invite list for all your cultural events and look for a way to build an event with them and a local NEA grantee. 

Sign the National Petition to President Trump to Support the Arts in America

Following a tumultuous election, the arts community is asking what they can do. With so much change coming so quickly, arts advocates need to organize. We need to raise our collective and individual voices with precision and in a unified manner. The new Administration and Congress will swiftly pass their biggest legislative changes in the first 1 to 3 months of the new year. We need to act now. 

That's why the Arts Action Fund has developed this nationwide petition to President Trump to support the arts by taking specific pro-arts actions within his Administration.

Please sign this petition and get 5 of your friends to do the same.

Americans for the Arts - Arts Action Fund

The Arts Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit membership organization affiliated with Americans for the Arts. They are the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Launched in 2004, the Arts Action Fund seeks to engage citizens in education and advocacy in support of the arts and arts education. The Arts Action Fund's goals are to:

Enlist and mobilize 1 million citizen activists who will help ensure that public and private resources are maximized and that arts-friendly public policies are adopted at the federal, state, and local levels.

Join this organization for free today, click here.

Tennesseans for the Arts (TFTA)

Bringing the community together. Promoting education. Delighting our children. Tennesseans for the Arts (TFTA) knows that the arts foster vibrant communities, while making good economic sense. They inspire our children, while they tell us who we are. We believe there’s no better way to enrich the quality of life for all of us.

Tennessee Arts Advocacy Day

Arts Advocacy Day was held in Nashville at the Public Library on March 1, 2017.

TFTA and your fellow advocates from across Tennessee spent the morning in informative programming and then met with lawmakers from our region to let them know that the arts are valued in our community.

Arts Advocacy Day 2017

Each year, arts supporters from across the state gather in Nashville to visit with their lawmakers.  Organized and presented by Tennesseans for the Arts, Arts Advocacy Day offers the opportunity for all segments of Tennessee's extraordinary arts and cultural community to come together to 1) Network and make new friends, 2) Receive advocacy and policy information about arts funding in Tennessee, and 3) Speak with our state legislators about the importance of the arts in our state.  

On March 1, 2017, 50 delegates from Memphis had the opportunity to speak with:

  • Representative Raumesh Akbari | District 91
  • Representative G.A. Hardaway Sr. | District 93
  • Senator Brian Kelsey | District 31
  • Representative Ron Lollar | District 99
  • Representative Larry J. Miller | District 88
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Buy an Arts License Plate or Gift-A-Tag

70% of state arts funding comes from the sale of arts and collegiate license plates

  • Now you can buy a GIFT-A-TAG voucher for the purchase of any of Tennessee's Specialty License Plates. There are over 100 to choose from. To purchase a voucher, click here!

  • GIFT-A-TAG vouchers are $35 and you can buy as many as you want—for your family, friends or treat yourself. Each GIFT-A-TAG is good for the purchase of a Specialty License Plate or the personalization of any license plate. 

If you already have a Tennessee arts license plate, stop by our office (575 South Mendenhall) or email a picture to info [at] artsmemphis [dot] org to receive a FREE ArtsCard, offering discounts to the arts across the city!

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