National Endowment for the Arts

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The National Endowment for the Arts is a United States federally funded program that offers support and funding for projects that exhibit artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current chairman is the poet Dana Gioia and it has its offices in the Old Post Office building, in Washington, D.C.

The NEA mission is "to enrich our Nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country."

Between 1965 and 2003, the agency has made in excess of 119,000 grants. Congress granted the NEA an annual funding of between $160 and $180 million from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. In 1996, Congress cut the NEA funding to $99.5 million (see Chronology of Federal Support to the NEA) as a result of pressure from conservative groups, including the American Family Association, who criticized the agency for using tax dollars to fund highly controversial artists such as Robert Clark Young, Andres Serrano, Robert Mapplethorpe, and the so-called "NEA Four." Since 1996, the NEA has partially rebounded with a 2004 budget of $121 million. [1]

It offers grants in three areas:

  • Art projects
  • Leadership initiatives
  • Partnership agreements

Additionally, the NEA awards individual fellowships in literature.


[edit] List of Chairpersons

The following people have served as Chairs for the National Endowment:

  1. Roger L. Stevens, 1965–1969, appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson
  2. Nancy Hanks, 1969–1977, appointed by Richard M. Nixon
  3. Livingston L. Biddle, Jr., 1977–1981, appointed by Jimmy Carter
  4. Frank Hodsoll, 1981–1989, appointed by Ronald Reagan.
  5. John E. Frohnmayer, 1989–1992, appointed by George H. W. Bush
  6. Jane Alexander, 1993–1997, appointed by Bill Clinton
  7. Bill Ivey, 1998–2001, appointed by Bill Clinton
  8. Michael P. Hammond, 2002, appointed by George W. Bush
  9. Dana Gioia, 2003–present, appointed by George W. Bush

[edit] Further reading

  • Alexander, Jane. Command Performance: an Actress in the Theater of Politics. PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Book Group; New York, NY, 2000. ISBN 1-891620-60-1.
  • Binkiewicz, Donna M. Federalizing the Muse: United States Arts Policy and the National Endowment for the Arts, 1965-1980, University of North Carolina Press, 312pp., 2004. ISBN 0-8078-2878-5.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

National Endowment for the Arts

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