Performing Arts Alliance Newsletter
    February 23, 2016

The President Proposes Increases for the Arts!

Earlier this month, President Obama released his budget for FY17 which begins October 1, 2016. It contains his recommended funding levels for the federal government including:  

  • National Endowment for the Arts: $150 million; a $2 million increase from FY16
  • Arts Education at the U.S. Department of Education: $27 million; level with FY16

There is also a request of $105.19 million for the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the State Department, $3.19 million more than FY16. This office operates international cultural exchange programs.

It's encouraging to see proposals that would increase federal support for the arts. This is the start of the appropriations season; the House and Senate will draft their own spending bills, and the President's budget is used as one benchmark in their negotiations. 

Read on for more details, and learn how you can take action during appropriations season.

Visa Policy Alert: ARTS Act Reintroduced in the Senate!

The Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act was reintroduced in the Senate on February 8. This bill (S. 2510) would make the visa process more reliable and affordable. It would require that if a petition filed on or behalf of a U.S. nonprofit arts organization isn't processed within the 14 days required by statute,  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) would have to treat that petition as a Premium Processing case free of charge.

The ARTS Act has a strong history of bipartisan support. The bill was reintroduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and needs support from Senators on both sides of the aisle. 

Speak up for the arts: write your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor this bill! 

Arts Advocacy Day is Soon: March 7-8!

Next month, arts advocates from all over the country will convene in Washington, DC for Arts Advocacy Day 2016, the annual event sponsored by Americans for the Arts. PAA is a National Partner of this year's event and is also a member of the legislative planning committee.

Advocates will come together for the latest information about top national arts policy issues, training and tips for meeting with legislators, networking with fellow advocates, and meeting with lawmakers and staffers to educate them about the importance of the arts in our nation. 

Can't make it to Washington? Speak up for the arts at home! Visit the PAA Arts Advocacy Issue Center where you can contact your legislators and ask their support for the arts. PAA has set up letters for you to share your story with your federal lawmakers and also share talking points about these policy topics:
  • Charitable Giving Incentives
  • Cultural exchange
  • Visas for foreign guest artists
  • Funding for Arts Education
  • Funding for the NEA
  • Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act
Learn about additional Arts Advocacy Day policy topics--as well as other policies impacting the nonprofit performing arts sector--here.

The Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) is a 501c4 multi-disciplinary coalition of national service organizations from the professional nonprofit performing arts field. Through legislative and grassroots action, PAA advocates before the U.S. Congress and key policy makers for national policies that enhance and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.