Funding Forecast, Grant Deadline, Arts Ed Toolkit and More!

Bracing for NEA and Arts Ed Funding Outcomes

Washington, D.C. - The upcoming elections and debates over automatic spending cuts have thrown the federal funding process into a tailspin. While certain steps of the budget process have begun, ongoing advocacy to protect arts resources from cuts will likely be needed through November and beyond.

The U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee voted in June to reduce National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funding from its current level of $146.3 million to an allocation of $132 million. As the NEA has already seen declining funding in the past two years, further decreases would threaten the agency’s capacity to make grants in communities nationwide. The League, along with its national arts partners, is rallying advocates to contact Congress in support of preserving NEA funding.

Arts education funding took a positive step forward in mid-June when the Senate Appropriations committee approved an FY13 bill including $26.5 million for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program, an increase of $1.5 million from last year’s allocation. This level of funding would allow the U.S. Department of Education to continue funding multi-year arts education grants that are in progress.

Stay tuned to the League for the latest funding news and alerts.

Upcoming NEA Grant Deadline: August 9, 2012

Mark your calendars for the next NEA grant deadline of August 9 for Art Works: Arts Education. The NEA welcomes arts education projects that are school-based, have the required one-to-one grant match, and are submitted by organizations that have at least a three year history of programming. The Arts Endowment does not support activities that are designed to supplant existing in-school arts instruction or work toward academic degrees.

All applicants are required to submit applications through the federal government’s online system called Grants.gov, are advised to take care of registration well before an application deadline to ensure all the proper steps are completed, and submit an application at least 10 days prior to the deadline to allow ample time to resolve any problems that might arise.

Please visit the NEA’s website for general information about grant opportunities. Additional helpful links include:

You’ll see some new project types listed in which the agency is “particularly interested.”

*HINT: Once you’re on this page, scroll almost to the bottom of the page until you see a box with the headings:“Step One Please Read First” and “Step Two To Apply.” Click on the red text. When you are ready to apply, click on “How to Prepare and Submit an Application.”

Now Available: Toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools (2009-10 FRSS)

The League has played a national leadership role in creating a new toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools to support your local in-school music education advocacy efforts. This past April, the U.S. Department of Education released the first national snapshot on the status of arts education in ten years - the Fast Response Statistical Survey's (FRSS) Report on Arts Education, which indicated clear equity gaps in student access to a quality arts education in all arts disciplines. While the report does not provide a complete picture of the status of arts education, it includes helpful information that should prompt advocacy for arts education programs across the country as schools struggle in the wake of the recession and high-stakes accountability demands for reading and math outcomes.

The report shows that schools with a higher concentration of students in poverty were less likely to offer music education and, among elementary schools offering music education, the presence of music specialists declines as the school's poverty rate increases. To help orchestras and the broader arts community understand and communicate about the national results, the League partnered with other national organizations to create a toolkit, which should help you leverage the results to advance a policy conversation about the status of arts education in your local schools. As always, music education advocates can find a host of additional resources within the League's music education advocacy tools to learn what steps you can take at the local level to advance the status of arts education in public schools.

Visit Newly Re-launched www.artistsfromabroad.org for an Important Foreign Artist Tax Update

If your orchestra engages foreign guest artists, please take note of the following development that will impact artists’ ability to file the required U.S. tax return. Through the remainder of 2012, new requirements are in place for documentation accompanying requests for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). These documents will now require much more time to assemble, and the IRS plans to announce further changes to the ITIN process to take effect in 2013. Read more about the process for obtaining an ITIN on the Artists from Abroad website. Our newly re-designed site also now includes an RSS feed. Sign up today to get the latest news items delivered directly to your inbox!

Postal Reform Legislation from House to Preserve Nonprofit Postal Rate

Good news in the ongoing debate over postal rates! Pending legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2309, seeking to reform the U.S. Postal Service, will be modified to preserve the nonprofit postage discount rate. The current legislation under consideration includes a reduction of the nonprofit postage discount rate, but staff from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee indicate that this damaging section will be removed prior to the bill’s consideration this summer. The Senate has already passed postal reform legislation (S. 1789) which favorably maintains the current nonprofit postage discount rate.