Washington DC’s Studio Theatre (image via onephotographaday.com)

The list of domestic spending cuts for the new national budget announced by the US government this morning includes $13 million in funding cuts for both the NEA and the NEH, but that’s just the start of the damage. $8.5 million has been cut from the NGA budget, and reduced funding to a program that supports Washington’s private artistic organizations by 75 percent.

Washington City Paper has the details. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH will each be cut by $13 million to roughly $154 million, similar to their 2009 governmental funding, but an 8 percent cut from the 2010 appropriations of $167.5 million for each organization. The NGA cut will come not from the organizations operating budget but from National Gallery’s East Building facade renovation budget and “from funds for other capital projects,” reports Tyler Green. The NGA’s operating budget will remain at the 2010 level of $111 million.

What the budget cuts really hurt is the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts’ relatively small National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs (NCACA) grant program, whose budget is being slashed by $7 million, from $9.5 million down to $2.5 million. The NCACA “supports the operating budgets of many of Washington’s best-known private artistic organizations,” and last year gave out $9.5 million in grants to “24 museums, theater, and libraries,” according to Washington City Paper. But this fiscal year, the NCACA may cease to exist entirely. Reports the Washington City Paper,

Carla Perlo, the founder and director of [DC’s] Brookland dance studio, said the budget-slashing will “hurt a lot,” but she was expecting much worse. “We will be fortunate if [NCACA] gets cut to $2.5 million instead of being totally eliminated,” Perlo said.

Larger institutions like the Corcoran Museum and Arena Stage receive a small percentage of their funding from NCACA, but smaller organizations depend on NCACA grants to operate. The city’s Dance Place receives over 25 perecent of its budget from NCACA grants while Studio Theatre receives 6.7 percent.

It remains to be seen how these smaller organizations will tighten their belts without going under, though collaboration and consolidation among non-profits are strong possibilities. Still, even larger national art institutions will feel the impact of these cuts, right along with DC’s cultural community on the ground.

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly, Kill Screen, Creators...

2 replies on “Budget Cuts May Kill a $9.5 Million Art Grant Program”

  1. OMG!!!! This is a travisty to ALL AMERICANS! I can see our lives sprialing out of control and into a military state. U will have NO freedom of expression, speech, no color, no life. OUR CHILDREN and our children’s children will never know the meaning and feeling of a painbrush in their hand or a crayon to color outside the lines because they CAN. I call out to EVERY ARTIST OUT THERE to make a statement and SPEAK OUT about this MASSIVE CUT!!! I know we will pay DEARLY w our lives and culture if we do not do something NOW! Music, GONE! Visual art, GONE! Performing art,GONE!!!! YOUR lives will be a BLAND lifeless meaningless VOID and u wont even know it until it’s GONE! GET UP AND STAND UP TO STOP ART FROM ALWAYS BEING THE FIRST TO BE CUT AND CUT THE DEEPEST and THE LAST TO BE HEALED! If no one believes me, fine…….I hope u like ur lifeless dull void that YOU created!! I will NOT stand for it and will fight it all of the way! Get out there and VOLUNTEER at least. Help that child paint, or sing. Help that young lady get her degree/grant in art(any kind of art) w out feeling like there is nothing to go into. Help that teacher keep his class and his job to help developing minds create and be free. Help that artist by BUYING her work and supporting her so she can eat that night. Help that gallery stay open because ppl STILL want to see the wonderous creations from the past, into the present and on into the future. Help that Theatre stay open so that they can keep bringing joy to those around them with their wonderous expressions on stage! Help that Guitarist want to keep creating beautiful music and have joy from doing so beacuse they CAN.
    THIS is what we are cutting if we keep letting the GOVERNMENT decide it for US! We are a UNITED STATES and we should STAY united to KEEP ART in our lives and hearts forever!!!! Thank you.

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