NEA Receives Historic Budget Increase
"More theater, more music, more dance, more literature, more visual arts, and more arts education will now be available to more Americans." That's how NEA Chairman Dana Gioia summed up the impact of the NEA's FY 08 budget allocation of $144.7 million, an increase of $20.1 million over the NEA's FY07 funding. President George W. Bush signed the omnibus appropriations bill just after Christmas, giving the NEA its largest increase in nearly three decades. Chairman Gioia praised the strong bipartisan support for the Arts Endowment by Congress and the Administration, noting that the additional resources will allow the agency to devote more funds for direct grants to arts organizations. The NEA also will extend the reach of its National Initiatives, which support touring and arts education projects in a range of disciplines.
The nation's museums also get a boost in the FY 08 allocation, which included changes in the NEA-administered Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Program created by Congress to facilitate international exchanges between institutions. Thanks to a separate authorization for coverage of domestic exhibitions, the costs of insuring loans between U.S. museums will be reduced. Citing the spiraling cost of insuring art exhibitions, Chairman Gioia called the new legislation "enormously important both to American museums and to the millions of people who visit them each year."