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.