80th Annual Meeting


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 (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, the NEA's and the NEH's 47 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, more than 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations, and 5,000 local arts agencies in cities throughout the country; and

WHEREAS, federal arts funding leverages up to seven times more in matching funds from state and local governments, private foundations, corporations and individuals in communities across the nation to support the highest quality cultural programs in the nation; and

WHEREAS, federal arts funding to cities, towns and states has helped stimulate the growth of local arts agencies in America's cities and counties with $706 million annually in local government funding, $263 million in state government funding to the arts, and $13.28 billion in private giving to the arts; 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, such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) 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 funding for cultural activities is essential to promote full access to and participation in exhibits, performances, arts education and other cultural events regardless of family income; and

WHEREAS, the NEA’s “Our Town” initiative invests $6.6 million in grants to 51 communities in 34 states to support planning and design projects, and arts engagement strategies; and

WHEREAS, in the 2012 National Arts Index, conducted by Americans for the Arts, a measure of the health and vitality of the arts in the United States, composed of 83 equal-weighted, national-level indicators of arts and culture activity that covers a 13-year period, found that while the index increased this year from 96.3 to 96.7, federal funding for the arts is as crucial as ever given the 6.7 point overall decline from 103.4 in 2007; and

WHEREAS, federal, state and local financial support for the arts has fallen, additional NEA funding to support a competitive local re-granting program should be re-established to provide incentives for local governments to invest in targeted ways in the arts by infusing $5-10 million in new dedicated federal funding to local arts agencies, which would be matched to spur new local investment; and

WHERAS, the NEA plays a very important role in developing partnerships with other federal agencies such as HUD, Education and Transportation, in order to open new channels for arts organizations to work with all aspects of government; and

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has unanimously passed policy resolutions partnered with Americans for the Arts on Arts Advocacy Day to send letters to the President and leaders of the U.S. Senate and House to increase federal funding for the arts and humanities and Mayor Kautz, President of the USCM, participated in Arts Advocacy Day on April 5, 2011 offering her views and support that Congress appropriate $167.5 million in FY2011; and

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 support a level closer to the President’s budget request to fund these agencies in the FY 2013 appropriations bills at $155 million and to adopt a formal re-granting partnership program for local arts agencies to help the NEA better serve arts organizations of all sizes in communities across the country; and

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the federal government to invest in nonprofit arts organizations through local arts agencies as a catalyst to generate economic impact, create jobs, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract tourists and area residents to community activities, and to improve the overall quality of life in America’s cities.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2012