Stimulus Bill Includes 50 Million in Crumbs for the Arts

According to President Obama, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) must use the cash "to fund art projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn."

Museums around the country face a decline in revenue from federal, state, and private funds.Most are making cuts in their operating budgets, staff, exhibitions, and renovations. Some museums have to sell off portions of their collections in order to survive. Like selling a kidney to keep the body fed. The total operating budget for the NEA with the added $50 mil is now $145 million. Still a paltry amount compared to the billions/trillions thrown around these days.

Many of the top foundations that normally grant funds to museums were caught up in the various stock swindles sliding around Wall Street recently. Even those that escaped relatively unscathed from the fray got smacked down by diving stock markets. Will $50 million be enough to resurrect the arts? At times such as these, it probably is wisest to be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the master's table.

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Filed under: Photo News April 14, 2009
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