Thursday, February 5, 2009
The economic stimulus bill currently in Congress includes a small - compared to the overall package - allocation for the NEA. $50 million to the NEA in a package with an overall cost of $819 billion, but that's enough to cause loud criticism from some Republican legislators. The allocation isn't even in the Senate version of the bill. It's been taken out as "pork barrel spending." For a detailed account of the current criticism, reactions from the NEA and other arts organizations, and a bit of the history of the fight against government spending for the arts, see the story in the Boston Globe.
Henri Cole, a poet, described the impact of a fellowship he received from the NEA: The economy is like a dry riverbed. The fellowship money is like river water flowing into it."