Budget proposal threatens creative vitality of WA
A letter from ArtsWA Executive Director 

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Arts:

The White House released its proposed budget to Congress today, officially recommending full  termination of funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for FY2018. If this budget is enacted, it will have a direct and negative impact on the cultural and creative vibrancy of Washington State and every state in the nation. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories, as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries.

Forty percent of the NEA's grantmaking budget is awarded directly to the states through state and regional arts agencies, reaching millions more people in thousands of communities. ArtsWA (the Washington State Arts Commission) has partnered with the NEA for nearly 50 years. In FY 2016, we received $790,300 through an NEA Partnership Agreement, which stipulates a one-to-one match from the state general fund. These critical funds not only support hundreds of grants, but also provide non-grant services to arts organizations, community groups, schools and artists. With NEA funds, ArtsWA supports access to the arts in rural and low-income areas, arts education for students in K-12 schools, and diverse cultural activities across our entire state. In addition to the state grant, the NEA offers direct grants to Washington arts organizations. In FY 2016, these direct grants totaled $1,466,000, which then leveraged up to $9 in private and public funds for every NEA-awarded dollar.

The NEA's $148 million budget represents 0.025% (about three one-hundredths of one percent) of federal non-defense discretionary spending, yet it generates more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helps to shape a $704 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation's GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs. Here in Washington our creative industries earn $19.4 billion annually, with cultural non-profit revenues totaling $730.2 million. The elimination of the NEA and the NEH would have a chilling effect on our state's and our nation's creative vitality. It would also have a direct negative impact on ArtsWA's budget, and the state agency's capacity to invest in artists, and arts and culture organizations in every corner of our state.

The President's budget is a blueprint that will be considered by Congress, which has the constitutional responsibility to appropriate federal funding for agencies. The NEA has strong, bipartisan support in Congress. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and Americans for the Arts have been working with champions on Capitol Hill to deploy a bipartisan strategy to #savetheNEA. State arts agencies, our partners in the Humanities, and our stakeholders are being asked to help with this effort. To do your part to #savetheNEA and the NEH, please be in touch with each member of your Congressional Delegation. A simple and effective way to do this is by joining the Americans for the Arts Action Fund . This free membership will enable you to get the latest action alerts and breaking news, suggested messaging, and access to an online tool to quickly send messages to your congressional representatives.

Thank You.

Karen J. Hanan, Executive Director, ArtsWA 
NEA Funding at Work in Washington State
NEA DIRECT GRANTS - In November 2016, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that Washington state non-profit organizations would receive $975,000 as part of its first major grant funding round of FY 2017.

  • Bellingham Festival of Music, Bellingham $10,000
  • Pickford Film Center, Bellingham $10,000
  • Davenport Theatrical, Davenport $10,000
  • Village Theatre, Issaquah $25,000
  • Hedgebrook Foundation, Langley $25,000
  • Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia $10,000
  • Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend $75,000
  • Tasveer Corporation, Sammamish $10,000
  • 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle $20,000
  • A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle $30,000
  • Anindo Chatterjee Institute of Tabla, Seattle $10,000
  • Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, Seattle $10,000
  • Center for Religious Humanism, Seattle $10,000
  • Cultural Development Authority of King County, Seattle $50,000
  • Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle, Seattle $25,000
  • Glass Art Society, Seattle $20,000
  • Intiman Theatre, Seattle $20,000
  • Northwest Film Forum, Seattle $35,000
  • On the Boards, Seattle $30,000
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle $60,000
  • Pacific Northwest Center for Architecture and Design, Seattle $20,000
  • Pat Graney Performance, Seattle $20,000
  • Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle $25,000
  • Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle $25,000
  • Seattle Opera, Seattle $30,000
  • Seattle Public Schools, Seattle $100,000
  • Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle $40,000
  • Seattle Theatre Group, Seattle $20,000
  • Shunpike, Seattle $20,000
  • Town Hall Association, Seattle $15,000
  • University of Washington, Seattle $80,000
  • Spokane Symphony Society, Spokane $10,000
  • Methow Music Festival Association, Winthrop $10,000
NEA PARTNERSHIP GRANT - ArtsWA's NEA Partnership Grant leverages one-to-one state general fund monies used to support hundreds of grants across our state. The funds also allow us to provided non-grant services that benefit local community organizations, schools, and other arts and cultural activities. Here are a few examples:
Dementia-inclusive Series Workshop held in ECA's lobby. Photo courtesy of Edmonds Center for the Arts
Edmonds Center for the Arts
Funded Project: ECA Inclusion Project

Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA) is committed to increasing accessibility to its performances and programs for community members of all ages, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.  In the 2016-17 Season, ECA celebrated its 10th Anniversary with the launch of the ECA Inclusion Project, an organization-wide initiative spanning across ECA's Presented Series, Education & Outreach programs, and the physical accessibility of the ECA campus.

The project reflected ECA's strategic vision to be a "vibrant community, in which the performing arts are woven into our daily lives and valued for their power to entertain, educate, and inspire." Highlights of the ECA Inclusion Project:
  • Creative and social enrichment programs for individuals with dementia, their care partners, families, and friends
  • Sensory-friendly performances for children on the autism spectrum
  • Free training for special education teachers
  • A discounted ticket program
  • ASL Interpretation upon request at all Education Matinee performances
  • A scholarship fund offered up to 100% tuition support for the ECA Inclusion Project Summer Arts Enrichment Camp
Jessica G, youth participant and photographer.
Youth in Focus
Empower Youth through Photography

In over two decades Youth in Focus has impacted more than 3,600 youth through film and digital photography offering an innovative methodology to youth development using art as a way to share perspectives in impactful ways.

The Students: Youth 13-19: over 80% receive free or reduced price meals, 88% are youth of color, 28% identify as LBGTQ/non-conforming and 8% live with a single parent or other situation. To ensure youth can access the program, classes are offered on a sliding scale with scholarships. Recently: 85% of students received some level of scholarship, 68% paid $25 deposit only, 13% received 50% scholarship, 4% received 25% scholarship, and 5% paid full tuition.

The Program: Youth complete an application and in-person interview and are placed in classes after considering learning styles. All photography equipment is included to ensure equitable access. Quarterly classes were three hours, twice a week, over eight weeks. All staff were trained in Youth Program Quality Initiative techniques to provide a consistent environment. Quarters start with a kick-off allowing youth to meet classmates and review community agreements. Youth were exposed to critique methods emphasizing critical thinking and learned to engage in meaningful dialog, such as social justice/racial equity and learn how a camera can tell a story. At the conclusion of the quarter, youth speak to audiences of up to 100 guests at End of Quarter Shows, presenting final photographs, written artist statements and self-portraits. This provides a unique, memorable testament to the personal growth each student has realized.
Storytelling Residency. Photo courtrsy of White Salmon Valley School District.
White Salmon Valley School District - Arts in Education Grant

FY 2016 was year one of a two-year project designed to increase and deepen student engagement and learning in visual, performing and integrated arts. The School District significantly increased the amount of support given to artist residencies and mentorships in the schools.

Project outcomes included:
  • Five hundred K-4 students engaged in artist residencies and assemblies.
  • One hundred 2nd graders attended a play in Portland.
  • One hundred 5th graders explored creative expression and critical thinking skills through two weeks of visual art residencies. Fifth graders also received twice weekly art classes.
  • Three hundred middle school students engaged in artist residencies during Outdoor School and testing week.
  • One hundred twenty-five high school students engaged in integrated arts residencies to enhance their wood shop, metal shop, media arts and at-risk curriculum.
  • Twenty-five Special Education students engaged in five days of a visual arts residency.
  • Three arts specialists attended state conferences in the arts.
The Washington State Arts Commission is committed to values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and creative expression. We believe in diverse forms of artistic expression, and we believe in access to arts and arts education for all individuals in our state. The arts can and should play a role in addressing inequities, modeling inclusion, and teaching empathy.
For more information contact:
Glenda Carino | W. 360.586.8093 | C: 360.259.7862 | g lenda.carino@arts.wa.gov