As I said in my (more despairing) earlier posts, I don't think the NEA is the ideal institution for funding the arts, because it can be so easily politicized. And the benefit my own theater company will get from this is pretty much nil, I suspect.
But still...a ray of hope for arts funding.
House and Senate negotiators on the bill dropped the language prohibiting stimulus funds from going to museums, theatres, and arts centers introduced by Senator Coburn.
Arguing for the $50 million in arts money on the House floor on Friday, Representative David R. Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, said: “You know what? There are five million people who work in the arts industry. And right now they have 12.5 percent unemployment — or are you suggesting that somehow if you work in that field, it isn’t real when you lose your job, your mortgage or your health insurance? We’re trying to treat people who work in the arts the same way as anybody else.”
12.5% unemployment is a gross underestimation...but then again I don't suppose those who have been unemployed for years because of the lack of arts funding in this country count in the statistics. In any event, it was a bold and principled stand for Representative Obey - there's not much to be gained politically from supporting the arts.