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Statement on the National Endowment for the Arts

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dear Friends in the Arts and Humanities,

As you may have heard, President Trump has released his proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018. The budget as presented would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), along with cuts to other federal agencies. NEA funding supports the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' (CAH) grantmaking efforts, accounting for just over three percent of CAH's FY17 budget. CAH receives no funding from the NEH.

It is important to remember that the president's proposed budget is just the first step in the federal budget process. Congress will ultimately determine how federal dollars are appropriated across the government through legislation.

A loss of NEA funds would be impactful. CAH has worked to be prepared in anticipation of such cuts in the planning of our FY18 budget expenditures, in order to continue to offer the best possible service to the District's arts and humanities communities.

In addition to the funding CAH receives from the NEA to support our agency's work, a number of DC arts entities have received direct NEA grants to support their projects. A loss of these funds could have dramatic impacts on the District's arts and cultural offerings.

I have been in contact with colleagues at the NEA today to learn more about the situation and what the next steps may be. They continue to monitor these matters closely and proceed with business as usual at this time. I encourage you to remember that this is a long process and there still much work to be done.

The loss of NEA funding would be very unfortunate and we hope it will be avoided, but whatever the final outcome may be, CAH will strive to provide the greatest level of support possible in the District.

Most sincerely,

Arthur Espinoza, Jr.
Executive Director
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities