Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. From offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, it serves more than 150,000 organizational and individual members and stakeholders. Please share our combined histories of working to advance the arts in American by adding key moments in your or your organization's history to the Americans for the Arts 50th Anniversary Timeline.
Created by americansforthearts on Mar 31, 2010
Last updated: 11/11/10 at 04:47 PM
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President Obama nominates Broadway producer Rocco Landesman to be the next chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. Credit: Mike linksvayer
The National Endowments for the Arts & the Humanities both receive a $10M increase, setting their budgets at $155M each. This marks the 2nd consecutive increase in federal grant money for cultural organizations across America & another step toward restoring full funding to federal cultural agencies.
President Obama signs the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act into law; the bill includes $50M distributed through the National Endowment for the Arts to programs in all 50 states working specifically to preserve nonprofit arts jobs heaviest hit by the economic downturn.
The Obama presidential campaign establishes the first National Arts Policy Committee, comprising more than 40 artists, administrators, funders & advocates from across the U.S. The goal: to provide leadership & expertise in crafting a vision statement & detailed policy position. Credit: Steve Jurveston
The first Congressional arts hearing in 12 years features witnesses in support of the National Endowment for the Arts, each requesting a minimum increase of $52M. Pictured are jazz artist muscian and Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis and philanthropist Sheila Johnson. Photo credit: Jim Saah
President Bush signs the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008 on Air Force One.The FY2008 omnibus appropriations allocates $144.7M for the National Endowment for the Arts. This 16 percent increase of just over $20M is the NEA's largest in 28 years. The National Endowment for the Humanities & the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Dept of Education also receive increases.
National Endowment for the Arts & Dept of Defense collaborate on "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience," an innovative program to encourage U.S. troops returning from duty & their families to record experiences in a variety of forms, from memoirs & journals to fiction & poetry.
Among the discussions at The Assoc of American Cultures meeting in San Jose: whether artists should identify themselves as artists of color & a need for ethnic-specific arts groups. Keynote by James Early, cultural heritage policy director at the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage.
Through a unique partnership between National Endowment for the Arts & Dept of Defense, the NEA initiative "Shakespeare in American Communities," bringing quality theatrical productions to communities across the U.S., extends to military bases, as well.
“Building Creative Economies: The Arts, Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development” conference in Asheville, N.C. looks at potential for creative economies in Appalachia. 300 attend from arts & humanities groups, state & local arts agencies, economic development & tourism agencies & foundations.
The signing of the No Child Left Behind Act by President Bush provides historic reform for America’s schools, many of which sacrifice art, music & creative skills for more “core” academic subjects such as reading, writing & math.
National Endowment for the Arts's Challenge America program distributes grants to improve arts education & access. Schools, libraries, chambers of commerce, Boys & Girls Clubs & downtown merchants partner with arts organizations in communities nationwide in order to meet the program's outreach goals.
President Bush nominates poet & former corporate exec Dana Gioia to be the next chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council offices (including 3 decades of archives) & studios in the World Trade Center are destroyed in terrorist attacks; artist-in-residence Michael Richards is killed. In the aftermath, Exec Director Liz Thompson focuses on the health & safety of her staff & artists.
The reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act of 1965 as the No Child Left Behind Act maintains that the arts are a “core academic subject” & eligible for funding through teacher training, school reform & technology programs.
President Bush nominates Michael Hammond as the next chair of the National Endowment for the Arts; sadly, he dies in early 2002 after only one week in office.
President Clinton signs the Interior Appropriations Bill giving the National Endowment for the Arts $105M, its first increase in 8 years. Americans for the Arts President & CEO Bob Lynch attends the White House signing ceremony.
During National Arts & Humanities Month, Miramax releases "Music of the Heart" starring Meryl Streep in the true story of NYC music teacher Roberta Guaspari's fight to save a successful violin program in an East Harlem school. The film features renowned violinists as well as some of Guaspari's pupils.
A seminal study of strategies for building & sustaining strong arts ed programs is released by President's Committee on the Arts & the Humanities & the Arts Education Partnership. Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education profiles 91 districts in 42 states.
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions chaired by Sens Jim Jeffords (R-VT) & Ted Kennedy (D-MA) holds a hearing on the Elementary & Secondary Education Act, up for renewal. The focus: how teachers, partnerships & programs assist disabled & at-risk youth through arts education.
Reporting the Arts, the first comprehensive analysis of arts coverage in mainstream America, is published by the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia Univ.
President Clinton nominates Bill Ivey, the director of the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
In NEA v. Finley, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-1 in favor of the constitutionality of the statute mandating that when it comes to grantmaking, the National Endowment for the Arts must consider “general values of decency & respect for the diverse beliefs & values of the American public."
By exec order, President Clinton creates the White House Millennium Council “to lead the country in a celebration of the new millennium by initiating & recognizing national & local projects that contribute in educational, creative & productive ways to America's commemoration of this historic time.”
President Clinton says he'll veto a bill without at least $99.5M for the National Endowment for the Arts. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Slade Gorton (R-WA) pledges his support; the Senate passes, 93-3, an appropriations bill with $100M for NEA & a provision to solicit private funds.
Thanks to unprecedented advocacy efforts by national arts groups, the National Endowment for the Arts survives threats of elimination. Congress approves a budget of $98M, but imposes changes that permanently alter the agency, eliminating individual artist, general operating & discipline-based grants.
The Arts & Success in Secondary School, a benchmark study by James Catterall examining longitudinal data of 25,000 students, reveals how arts involvement is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, more community service & lower drop-out rates.
The Benton Foundation & National Endowment for the Arts collaborate on the $1M Open Studio project, the first initiative of its kind, bringing free public Internet access to arts organizations in all 50 states & helping arts groups & artists develop an online presence.
In his State of the Union Address, President Clinton asks Congress to maintain support for the arts & urges citizens to make the year 2000 a national celebration of the arts "so that we can remain the world's beacon not only of liberty but of creativity, long after the fireworks have faded.”
Coming Up Taller, a report on how community groups use the arts to improve young people's lives, is released by the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities, with National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies. Today, Coming Up Taller awards innovative afterschool arts & humanities programs.
National Endowment for the Arts convenes American Canvas, regional meetings with reps from the arts, education, business, government, religious groups, foundations & others to assess the role, value & future of arts on the local level. Local arts agencies play an active role, hosting in several cities.
The 1995 White House Conference on Aging directly addresses the arts & humanities: “The Arts, The Humanities & Older Americans.”
National Endowment for the Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary amid controversy & devastating budget cuts. The agency, while intact, requires a major reorganization after the House Appropriations Committee slashes the FY1996 budget by 39%, from $162M to $99M, the lowest appropriation in 20 years.
Christian Coalition releases “Contract with the American Family,” a 10-point agenda for reform calling for the abolishment of the National Endowments for the Arts & Humanities. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) says House Republicans are committed to bringing each of the measures to a floor vote.
ART-21, organized by the National Endowment for the Arts, is the federal government's first national meeting on the arts; over 1,100 attend, including artists, arts organizations, institutions, educators & patrons. Themes for discussion include the arts & technology & lifelong learning through the arts.
The Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act of 1994 offers the cultural sector potential funding for programs in the arts & humanities that reach at-risk youth, parents & people in the criminal justice system.
The Consortium of National Arts Education Assoc distributes What Every Young American Should Know & Be Able to Do in the Arts, outlining expectations in dance, music, theater & the visual arts by the end of grades 4, 8 & 12.
The nation's celebration of arts & culture grows from a week to a month: National Arts & Humanities Month is celebrated in October after 7 years of National Arts Week.
President Clinton appoints actress & former American Council for the Arts board member Jane Alexander as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
National Endowment for the Arts publishes Survey of Public Participation in the Arts: 1982–1992. With a 10 year spread & respondent pool broken down by age, income, race, education & gender, the report signals important trends in arts participation, giving arts groups invaluable audience information.
Rep Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is elected chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus.
Goals 2000: Educate America Act is the birth of the National Standards Movement. Goal 3 states that by the year 2000, U.S. students will be competent in core academic subjects, including the arts.
The first "Day Without Art," a national day of action & mourning, raises public awareness of AIDS & inspires positive action. Approx 800 U.S. arts & AIDS groups participated, shutting down museums, volunteering at AIDS services or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS.
President Bush appoints John Frohnmeyer as National Endowment for the Arts chair.
Controversy over 2 federally-funded projects -- Andres Serrano's Piss Christ & Robert Mapplethorpe's The Perfect Moment -- compromise the National Endowment for the Arts budget & threaten its elimination.
Going Public: A Field Guide to Developments in Art in Public Places is published, documenting the findings from the National Endowment for the Arts Public Art Policy Project of 1987, which examined key issues facing artists & administrators.
An image of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in its entirety goes on display in Washington, D.C. It includes a patchwork of more than 10,000 3-foot-by-6-foot panels.
The National Endowment for the Arts Test Program of Support for Local Arts Agencies is established as a full NEA program called the Locals Program.
For the first time, local arts agencies are eligible for $20M in the National Endowment for the Arts's Challenge Grant Program.
President Reagan awards the first National Medal of Arts; among the recipients: patron Paul Mellon, soprano Leontyne Price, painter Georgia O'Keeffe, composer Elliott Carter Jr & Hallmark Cards Inc, the first corporate recipient & a charter member of Business Committee for the Arts.