WHEREAS, The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education; and

WHEREAS, established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases; and

WHEREAS, before the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965, the arts were limited mostly to a few big cities. The Arts Endowment has helped create regional theater, opera, ballet, symphony orchestras, museums and other art organizations that Americans now enjoy; and

WHEREAS, in its 40-year history, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than 120,000 grants that have brought art to Americans in communities large and small; and

WHEREAS, the Arts Endowment awards grants to nonprofit organizations in four areas: Access to Artistic Excellence, Learning in the Arts, Challenge America, and Partnership Agreements. Forty percent of its funds are awarded to state and jurisdictional arts agencies and six regional arts organizations. Also, the Mayors Institute on City Design, NEA Jazz Masters, the Arts Endowment awards fellowships in literature and the folk and traditional arts are all nationally-recognized programs of the NEA; and

WHEREAS, the Arts Endowment has helped the arts become accessible to more Americans, which in turn has increased public participation in the arts. For instance, in fewer than three decades, nonprofit professional theaters have grown from 50 to a network of 600 today. The agency also supports cultural activities that strengthen our economy; and

WHEREAS, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is the largest funder of humanities programs in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the National Endowment for the Humanities serves and strengthens our nation by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects in four funding areas: preserving and providing access to cultural resources, education, research, and public programs; and

WHEREAS, NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars; and

WHEREAS, Since 1965, the Endowment has opened new worlds of learning for the American public with noteworthy projects such as: "Treasures of Tutankhamen," the blockbuster exhibition seen by more than 1.5 million people; The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans; Library of America, editions of novels, essays, and poems celebrating America's literary heritage; United States Newspaper Project, an effort to catalog and microfilm 63.3 million pages of newspapers dating from the early Republic; and Fifteen Pulitzer prize-winning books, including those by James M. McPherson, Louis Menand, Joan D. Hedrick, and Bernard Bailyn; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support for the National Endowment for the Arts (including its Challenge America program), National Endowment for the Humanities and joins in celebrating their 40th anniversary.

2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352