Arts and humanities groups could see increased money from the federal government in 2010, if Congress approves all of President Obama’s budget request.
Under the proposal, the National Endowment for the Humanities would receive about $171-million, up $16-million, or more than 10 percent, from 2009. That figure includes $10-million allocated for the National Capital Arts program, which is being shifted from another agency.
The administration has proposed increasing the appropriation for the National Endowment of the Arts by about 3.9 percent to $161.3-million. Congress had given the endowment $155-million in 2009 — a figure that does not include a separate $50-million appropriation to the endowment through the federal economic-stimulus law.
In addition, Mr. Obama’s budget proposal includes $38.16-million for the arts-in-education program at the Department of Education — a figure that is level with what was appropriated by Congress for 2009.
The plan quickly drew support from Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group in Washington.
“[The proposal] provides another encouraging nod of confidence in the role the arts play in America’s future,” said Robert L. Lynch, the group’s president. “The administration’s request of $16- million would take the NEA to its highest funding level in 15 years and will help continue the upward trend of budgetary growth.”
But, despite the increases, there are concerns that administration is not going far enough to support arts organizations that are struggling mightily in the face of the recession.
“We would have loved to have seen more, more aggressive increases but given where we are in the economy and with what the federal government is taking on right now, we are just glad [the NEA has] an increase,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the American Association of Museums, in Washington.