Arts Funding Falling Again


    LANSING — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is expected to get $131.3 million from Congress when the new fiscal year starts next month, up by $10 million from this year and the most the agency has received since it was awarded $162 million in 1995.

    A larger NEA award usually means its grants to state arts and cultural organizations also are bigger. But whether the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) will actually receive a larger NEA grant won’t be known for a while because the awards the NEA makes to states lag a year. NEA funding coming from the 2006 federal budget, which should go into effect in three weeks, won’t reach the MCACA until fiscal year 2007.

    “We would expect an increase in ’07,” said William Anderson, director of the state Department of History, Arts and Libraries, which houses MCACA.

    “We already know what ’06 is going to be, and that is a little less.”

    Congress gave the NEA $121.3 million last year and MCACA received $650,745 from the agency for FY06, a figure that was $26,000 less than the state organization was awarded the previous year. In all, the NEA provided grants worth $1.25 million to MCACA and various arts and cultural groups across the state for 2006. But that amount was well under the $1.57 million that Michigan received for 2005.

    “The money that we get from the NEA is used to support various arts and cultural programs,” said Anderson

    The council does the same with state funds. For this fiscal year, Lansing lawmakers gave the agency $11.7 million that the organization handed out in 307 grants to arts and cultural entities. Local performing arts groups received a dozen grants from state funding this year that were worth $443,100, while cultural organizations got seven grants worth $363,200.

    But Anderson doesn’t expect as much funding to come from the state for FY06. The Senate, in its version of the budget, earmarked $8.8 million to go to MCACA. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has recommended $11.3 million. And the House seems to be searching for a number that is somewhere between those two figures.

    Whatever the amount, Anderson fully expects that it will be less than this year’s figure.

    “We’re anticipating a further reduction. Obviously, we’re hoping it won’t be that severe. A couple of years ago we took a 50-percent reduction,” he said.

    In FY02, state funding to MCACA was $23.6 million. To fall from that figure to, say, the $8.8 million the Senate has allocated would result in arts funding plunging by 63 percent in just four years and tumbling roughly $3 million just from this year to next year.

    “I think that traditional arts funding is going to be under siege and I think the best future for us is to think about how we are using our financial resources, in terms of impacting the economy. So our department is clearly moving in that direction of how the arts and culture affect the economy,” said Anderson

    WayneStateUniversity found that arts and cultural attractions affected the economy by generating $46 billion worth of revenue statewide in 2001, a result that comes from a study the school did three years ago.

    Anderson said he hopes to take his department’s economic development strategy for the state’s arts and cultural community to Granholm next month and ask her to incorporate it into her plan to grow Michigan’s economy.

    “It’s right at the top of our agenda,” said Anderson of the department’s nearly finished plan. “We are working very hard to get that repositioning in place.”    


    Federal Funds

    The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and a multitude of arts groups in the state have received $5.75 million in grants the past four years from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Of that total, nearly $2.67 million went directly to MCACA for grant distribution to arts and cultural organizations through its partnership program.

    The following chart lists the total NEA funding, how much went to MCACA, how much went to state arts and cultural groups, and how much the state received from the NEA for fiscal years 2002 to 2005.

    Award Year Total NEA Funding MCACA Funding Arts Groups Funding Total State NEA Funds
    2005 $121.3m $650,745 $605,000 $1,255,745
    2004 $120.9m $676,500 $899,550 $1,576,050
    2003 $115.7m $666,500 $935,000 $1,601,500
    2002 $115.2m $667,500 $652,500 $1,320,000
    Total $473.1m $2,661,245 $3,092,050 $5,753,295

    Note: Grants from an award year get applied to the following fiscal year.

    Source: National Endowment for the Arts, August 2005

    State Grants

    Local performing arts organizations received a dozen grants from the state this fiscal year that were worth a total of $443,000. Seven more state grants were awarded to local cultural groups and those were worth $363,200. Overall, arts and cultural entities in KentCounty received 19 grants from the state for a total of $806,300 during the current fiscal year.

    The following charts list the performing arts groups that received state grants, how many, and what the grants were worth.

    Local Organization    

    Number of Grants

               Funding Total
    Actors’ Theatre Company $17,200
    Arts Council of Greater GR $87,900
    Community Circle Theatre $35,000
    Grand Rapids Ballet Company $17,900
    Grand Rapids Civic Theatre $23,500
    Grand Rapids Symphony          $185,000
    North American Choral Co. $15,900
    Opera Grand Rapids $24,000
    St. Cecilia Music Society $21,700
    Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts $15,000



    Source: Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, August 2005

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