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Local arts supporters join campaign to lobby for NEA, PBS funding

February 20th, 2017

This article originally appeared in the Memphis Business Journal

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For every dollar that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) spends in local communities, another $9 in additional public or private funding follows.

That's part of the reason that local arts supporters — including ArtsMemphis — will host an #ArtsMatter advocacy event for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) on President's Day.

"Legislators on Capitol Hill will begin working on the federal budget this spring. Receiving a swarm of constituent mail can greatly impact the way a legislator votes on a particular issue," said ArtsMemphis executive director Elizabeth Rouse. "Our postcard campaign will be a powerful advocacy tool in the fight to keep arts support in the national budget."

The Trump administration has been rumored to have a plan to eliminate the NEA and privatize CPB, which includes PBS. So far, the administration has not taken any action on the plan.

With an annual budget of $150 million, the NEA is the main outlet for granting government funding to arts organizations. The cumulative economic impact of that budget is $135 billion across the country.

In Tennessee alone, there are more than 48,000 arts-related jobs, according to a 2015 Americans For the Arts report.

The #ArtsMatter advocacy event will be Monday, Feb. 20, from 4-6 p.m. at Memphis Made Brewing Company, 768 S. Cooper St.

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