How National Endowment for the Arts Benefits Oklahoma

National Endowment for the Arts & National Endowment for the Humanities leaders at Oklahoma Arts Conference in 2015

National Endowment for the Arts & National Endowment for the Humanities leaders at Oklahoma Arts Conference in 2015

Unofficial reports are circulating that the new Presidential administration will propose a budget that eliminates the National Endowments for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Oklahoma’s economy benefit greatly from the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). These two federal agencies benefit rural, suburban and inner city areas all across America, including Oklahoma.

The NEA and the NEH have greatly impacted Oklahoma’s communities through exhibitions, community programs, museums, arts education, outdoor festivals and more. 

Each year, 40% of the National Endowment for the Arts’ budget goes directly to state arts agencies across the country.

This fiscal year that means our state arts agency, the Oklahoma Arts Council, is investing $733,300 of NEA partnership funds with a strong state match.

The NEA funding in Oklahoma has increased 8% since 2014, during which time state appropriations have been reduced by 27%. NEA funding makes up 17% of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s budget, so this federal funding has become even more important to Oklahoma communities.

Besides funding through the Oklahoma Arts Council, the NEA has given $16M in direct grant funding to organizations and communities across the state since 1998. These funds help educational exhibitions reach new audiences, help innovative productions build local economies and more.

Oklahomans have put NEA grants to work, leveraging state dollars and private matching funds. While the required match is only 1 to 1, on average NEA-funded programs exceed the match with $9 in private donations for every $1 in federal investment. The NEA’s competitive grants send a clear message that the grantee is operating an impactful local program of top national quality.

Certainly our state’s economy and education system benefit as NEA funds spur school arts programs, tourist attractions and community development in every county of our state.

Arts advocates should speak up now to keep these important programs.

Take Action:

Contact Congress: Arts Action Fund email system lets you easily speak to your Senators and Representative about supporting the NEA & NEH.

Arts Supporters Petition to the President: Arts Action Fund seeks to send 100k signatures to the White House on our behalf. Sign and share.

City of OKC's Public Art Master Plan, funded in part by National Endowment for the Arts grant

City of OKC's Public Art Master Plan, funded in part by National Endowment for the Arts grant

Additional Resources:

Oklahoma Museums: Graphic from American Alliance of Museums about the NEA, NEH & IMLS

Overview: Americans for the Arts responds to the Reports of elimination and offers action steps.

Fact vs. Fiction: Government Arts Funding: This one-page sheet from the National Association of State Arts Agencies debunks common myths regarding public support for the arts.

 Five Essential Arts Arguments: The National Association of State Arts Agencies points out some of the big reasons why public funding for the arts is net gain.