Thursday, February 19, 2009

Congress: The Show Must Go On

Artists rejoice! On February 17, 2009 Congress preserved $50 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts in the final version of the recovery package. While the House version of the bill included the $50 million allotted, the Senate's version approved no arts funding at all. Conservative Republicans denounced the arts as "bonbons for a leftist elite with no place in an emergency bill stimulus". In their defense, arts groups rallied together to present some astonishing numbers. The arts culture provides six million jobs generating $30 billion in tax revenue and $166 billion in annual economic impact. Robert Redford even spoke out on behalf of his Sundance Film Festival, which brings more than $60 million to Park City, Utah, each year. "Ticket takers or electricians or actors-all the people connected with the arts are at risk just like everybody else." By preserving the $50 million allocation, the final bill eliminated the Senates' amendment that would have excluded museums, theaters, and arts centers from recovering any money. As read on

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