FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE ARTS, HUMANITIES AND MUSEUMS

WHEREAS, the arts, humanities and museums are critical to the quality of life and livability of America's cities; and

WHEREAS, the National Endowment for the Arts' and the National Endowment for the Humanities' thirty plus years of promoting cultural heritage and vitality throughout the nation has built a cultural infrastructure in this nation of arts and humanities agencies in every state and 4,000 local arts agencies in cities throughout the country; and

WHEREAS, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Office of Museum Services (OMS) within the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are the primary federal agencies that provide federal funding for the arts, humanities and museum programs, activities, and efforts in the cities and states of America; and

WHEREAS, federal funding serves as a catalyst to leverage additional dollars for cultural activity -- the annual federal investment made to these three agencies increased last year (NEA @ $115 million; NEH @ $124.5 million; and OMS @ $26.9 million) and has been used to leverage up to 10 times that amount from state and local governments, private foundations, corporations and individuals in communities across the nation to support the highest quality cultural programs in the world; and

WHEREAS, federal funding for cultural activities stimulates local economies and improves the quality of civic life throughout the country -- the NEA, NEH and IMLS support programs that enhance community development, promote cultural planning, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw significant cultural tourism dollars, and improve the overall quality of life in our cities and towns; and

WHEREAS, federal arts funding to cities, towns and states has helped stimulate the growth of 3,800 local arts agencies in America's cities and counties and $800 million annually in local government funding to the arts and humanities; and

WHEREAS, federal funding for cultural activities is essential to promote full access to and participation in exhibits, performances, arts education and other cultural events regardless of geography and family income; and

WHEREAS, the NEA has undergone a major restructuring of its grants programs to more directly reach and help build communities across the nation; and

WHEREAS, the federal cultural agencies have received funding increases for the last two consecutive years in an effort to begin restoring the devastating 40 percent cuts made in 1995, but major increases are still needed to address the growing needs of our cultural organizations; and

WHEREAS, the President has proposed a small FY'03 increase of $2 million for each of these agencies to cover primarily administrative overhead; and

WHEREAS, the delicate balance in shared responsibility and partnership for public funding of the arts and humanities at the federal, state and local government levels has been in serious jeopardy since local governments cannot make up for the current funding cuts in the federal government's share; and

WHEREAS, the United States Conference of Mayors has unanimously passed policy resolutions and issued official letters in the past on Arts Advocacy Day to the President and leaders of the U.S. Senate and House, signed by more than 200 of the nation's mayors, to increase federal funding for the arts and humanities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Office of Museum Services within the Institute of Museum and Library Services and calls upon Congress to fund these agencies for FY'03 at $155 million each for the NEA and the NEH, and up to $80 million for the OMS in order to fulfill the federal government's responsibility to help make the arts accessible to all Americans for the social, economic and cultural well-being of the American public, as well as to help sustain this nation's cultural infrastructure for public support of the arts and humanities at the federal, state and local levels.