The lobbying group Americans for the Arts, in conjunction with the Congressional Arts Caucus, which is comprised of nearly two hundred members of the House of Representatives from more than forty states, is in Washington, D.C. today to celebrate the twenty-second annual Arts Advocacy Day and to ask Congress to increase the annual appropriation for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). A recent omnibus appropriation bill included $155 million for the NEA, but the group plans to ask for $200 million.
According to the New York Times, the organization has in the past requested $176 milllion for the agency. This year, of course, the need of arts organizations is greater, and arts advocates are hoping President Obama will make good on his campaign pledge to request an increase.
Democratic Representative Norm Dicks, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, will host a Congressional hearing titled "The Arts = Jobs," in which a panel of witnesses from Americans for the Arts will testify. They include singers Josh Groban and Linda Ronstadt and trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. To read their written testimonies, visit the Americans for the Arts Web site.