Message from President & CEO Robert Lynch

It’s been a long, divisive but ultimately successful year. (See our #SAVEtheNEA timeline) Let’s use this holiday season to regroup, refocus, and recommit our goals to protect and expand the arts and arts education in the coming New Year. Now is the time to implement strategies that will turn our hopes into action. Next year, for the mid-term elections, we will be releasing incumbents’ records on the arts in our 2018 Congressional Arts Report Card. This one-stop guide will allow our members to make informed decisions at the ballot box.

As we close out 2017, I want to urge all Arts Action Fund members to contribute to our Year-End Appeal to raise $30,000 by December 31. We will use these funds to help us continue our grassroots efforts and to support pro-arts candidates in the 2018 mid-term elections. We’ll be mobilizing our grassroots constituents to weigh in on the most important legislative agendas impacting the arts and arts education in the nation. We need your support to build our political clout to reach a million Arts Action Fund members and to raise a total of $250,000 this election cycle to support as many pro-arts congressional candidates as possible. Please return the enclosed envelope to make your Year-End gift to support our 2018 efforts.

We are also so grateful to Blick Art Materials (owner of Blick and Utrecht stores nationwide) for partnering with us for the last four years during National Arts & Humanities Month in October. Blick recruited more than 36,000 new members to the Arts Action Fund movement. Additionally, we’d like to thank Blick Art Materials and its customers for stepping up during the hurricane relief efforts to partner with the Arts Action Fund to provide much needed funds and art materials to visual artists affected by the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Lobbies Capitol Hill to #SAVEtheNEA

When Lin-Manuel Miranda and his dad, Luis Miranda, heard that the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities were at risk of being eliminated this year, they contacted Americans for the Arts and the National Humanities Alliance to ask how they can help. They committed two full days to walk the halls of Congress, meeting with more than 35 Members of the House and Senate on September 12-13, 2017.

News outlets across the country, including the Washington Post,  Washington Examiner, CNN, CBS News, The Hill, People magazine, and more picked up the story, applauding Miranda’s bipartisanship and  enthusiasm throughout his trip. CNN wrote that “Lin-Manuel Miranda was the one guy in D.C. last night with bipartisan support.” The timing of Lin-Manuel’s visit was crucial as the Senate deliberated on the new FY2018 funding level for the NEA and NEH after the House proposed $145 million for each agency (a $5 million cut from last year). He successfully urged Senators to consider increasing the funding level to at least level funding

at $150 million for each agency.

Lin-Manuel also received the 2017 Freedom Award from the US Capitol Historical Society, and the 2017 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Medallion of Excellence while he was in D.C.

Year-End Legislative Activity Impacts the Arts and Charitable Giving

NEA Funding: Arts advocates won a big victory. Congress has solidly rejected the Administration’s call for termination of our nation’s cultural agencies. The House proposed $145 million and the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has countered with full funding at $150 million. A final bill is expected by year end. Arts Action Fund members sent a record number of 187,004 e-mails to Congress this year to  #SAVEtheNEA. Thank you for being part of this effort.

Arts Education: Despite the House zeroing-out arts education program funding in the FY 2018 appropriations bill, the Senate has recommended level funding at $27 million for the Assistance for Arts Education federal program that provides grants in support of arts education. For a complete list of FY 2018 appropriation levels set for the various cultural agencies and museums, please visit

Charitable Giving: Congress has rushed to pass far-reaching tax reform that could have a very negative impact on charitable giving. Charities could see a staggering loss of up to $20 billion annually in contributions, impacting the health of America’s nonprofit organizations and the communities served by this generosity. The Arts Action Fund is supporting a universal charitable deduction to stem these losses and increase giving by more Americans. To read more about how the tax bill could impact the arts please visit

State and Local Update

Americans for the Arts was pleased to deepen our work with the nation’s Lt. Governors by signing a statement of collaboration establishing the State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative. Over the next two years, Americans for the Arts will work with each Lt. Governor to design programs/projects to highlight the role the arts can play in the health and wellness of our military and their families. Every year, Americans for the Arts partners with several national associations of elected officials to present our annual Public Leadership in the Arts Awards.

In 2017, awards were presented to the following elected officials and artists:

• Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Oro Valley, AZ Mayor Satish Hiremath; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Alaska U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, and musician Pitbull were all presented awards in partnership with The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

• Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser was presented an award in partnership with the National Lt. Governors Association.

• Carver County, MN Commissioner Randy Maluchnik was presented an award in partnership with the National Association of Counties.

• The founding Co-Chairs of the Pennsylvania Arts and Cultural Caucus were presented awards in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Each of these elected officials has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to advancing the arts and culture in their city, county or state.