Leadership Changes in the Arts and Humanities
The arts world lost one of its longest-serving Congressional champions with the passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) on March 16. As a Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Rep. Slaughter often championed the cultural agencies in floor speeches and at Arts Advocacy Day.
At a special Capitol Hill reception to honor Rep. Slaughter, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) as the next co-chair of the Arts Caucus, serving alongside Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ). Rep. Pingree, who serves on the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, which initiates the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), has been a consistent champion voicing support for the NEA as well as for arts education support at the U.S. Department of Education. She currently serves as an ex-officio member of the National Council on the Arts, which advises the NEA.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu has announced her resignation at the conclusion of her four-year term, effective June 4, 2018. Chairman Chu led the agency during its 50th anniversary observance and has continued to serve as its leader throughout the transition to the new Trump Administration and its proposals to eliminate the agency. She regularly met with arts leaders and Members of Congress in her commitment to advance the arts in this country. Please follow this link to read Ms. Chu's statement on her term at the NEA: https://www.arts.gov/news/2018/statement-jane-chu-conclusion-her-term-nea-chair-june-4-2018
Mary Anne Carter who was appointed by the Trump Administration to serve as the NEA's Senior Deputy Chairman will serve as Acting Chair.
In March, the Senate confirmed Ms. Marie Royce as Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Ms. Royce previously served on the Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy at State, on the Board of Trustees at the Meridian International Center, and was a former educator and university professor.
Despite a proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as the NEA, President Trump nominated Jon Parrish Peede as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities in March, and the Senate confirmed the nomination in April. Mr. Peede previously held positions with the University of Virginia (Virginia Quarterly Review) and the National Endowment for the Arts. A complete profile may be found here: https://www.neh.gov/about/chairman
For a more complete profile of Ms. Royce, please click here: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/280673.htm
House Interior Bill Released - May 14, 2018
The House released its proposed funding bill for the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The bill proposes providing $155 million in funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities for fiscal year 2019. This is the amount that arts advocates have requested for the past several years. This is just the beginning of the appropriations process. The Performing Arts Alliance will continue to send updates when action is needed.
NEA Grant Opportunities
Other Grant Opportunities
Arts education grant opportunity NOW open at U.S. Dept. of Education.
Following a $2 million increase in funding approved by Congress for FY18, the U.S. Department of Education has announced a new grant opportunity under the Assistance for Arts Education Development & Dissemination (AAEDD) program. The four-year grants invest in arts-based educational programming in schools that increases access to standards-based arts education, integrates arts education into other subjects as part of a well-rounded education, and improves students' academic performance, including their knowledge and skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts. These grants are awarded for school-based partnerships in which 20% or more of the students served are from families with an income below the Federal poverty line. The deadline for the notice of intent to apply is May 16, 2018, with a deadline of July 2, 2018 for transmitting the application. For more information, please visit the AAEDD applicant information webpage.
FCC - Changes to Rules for Wireless Microphones
Interference Protection for Wireless Microphones in the Performing Arts
At the July 2017 FCC Open Meeting, the Commission voted to approve a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), opening a new proceeding in which it will consider allowing performing arts entities that use fewer than 50 wireless devices on a regular basis to apply for a license and receive the corresponding benefits, including access to better spectrum and interference protection. The Performing Arts Wireless Microphone Working Group submitted Comments and Reply Comments and generated scores of letters from the field. The Working Group also met with FCC officials to advocate for protection of wireless microphones in the performing arts. As of this writing, the Commission has not yet ruled.
In the meantime, T-Mobile's planned deployment in the 600 MHz band is being rolled out. T-Mobile has posted a letter and county list outlining its plans and the impact on wireless microphones, here: https://howmobileworks.com/spectrum/. The entire list should be reviewed periodically, as it is updated regularly. The webpage allows people to register to receive future email notifications as this list is updated.
Post FCC Auction Manufacturers Rebates
The FCC completed its auction of the 600MHz frequency band (616-653 MHz and 663-698 MHz.). Sound systems should be checked for compliance. Most manufacturers are offering rebates on new systems, but the window for rebates is closing soon.
Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate
Treaty negotiations ahead for musical instruments and protected species
The Performing Arts Alliance has partnered with national organizations to weigh in on protected species policies that restrict musicians from using their instruments across the globe. While steady progress has been achieved in this area, more improvements are needed. Recent rules adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and policymakers in other countries have now exempted most musical instruments from permit requirements for travel if instruments contain small quantities of non-Brazilian rosewood - a species that was elevated to a higher level of global protections in 2016. Comments filed on May 11 by U.S. groups, including the Performing Arts Alliance, request further policy improvements as the terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are negotiated in May of 2019. Read more about how global music organizations and conservation leaders are collaborating to advance these policies in the current issue ofSymphony magazine, "Conserving Endangered Woods: Advocating for Orchestras and Musicians."
Urgent concerns about new UBIT rules
The comprehensive tax reform provisions signed into law last December included changes that will require nonprofits to pay a new Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on the value of commuting and parking benefits provided to employees at the corporate rate of 21 percent, beginning on January 1, 2018. Since many performing arts organizations offer parking and transportation benefits, the costs of these new UBIT requirements could be considerable.
PAA Member organizations have joined with our colleagues to express our concerns with this policy and request Congress delay implementation and seek to narrow the application of the new rules. PAA member League of American Orchestras was featured in a national podcast by Independent Sector, providing an overview on this complicated area of tax policy.
PAA continues to advocate for tax policies that positively impact artists and arts organizations.
For updates on all these topics and more, along with easy ways to help advocate for change, please visit PAA at https://www.theperformingartsalliance.org/issues/ or see our Advocacy Tool Kit page here: https://www.theperformingartsalliance.org/tool-kit/advocacy-basics.