State of the Union, State of the Arts - (January 26, 2010)

League Meets with Top Administration Officials
Washington, D.C. - This week, President Obama will address the nation with a speech centered on jobs. As Congress and the White House craft national policies to strengthen the economy, it is essential that orchestras describe their impact on strengthening local communities. The League has recently represented orchestras in:

  • a January meeting with eight top White House policy leaders, including Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council
  • pdf comments at a national arts education stakeholder's forum at the U.S. Department of Education
  • urgent discussions with senior visa policy leaders at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • a nationally webcast NEA forum

In preliminary conversations, senior policy leaders at the White House signal support for strengthening federal cultural policies. Every policy request must be accompanied by compelling examples of how the arts address emerging community needs. Follow the link below to tell your members of Congress how your orchestra contributes to civic vitality. A copy of your communication automatically comes to the League and strengthens our efforts on your behalf in Washington.

Contact Congress Today
IRA Rollover Expires
On December 31st, the IRA Charitable Rollover expired along with a number of other tax provisions. The IRA Rollover allowed donors to make charitable contributions directly from their retirement accounts, without paying taxes on the withdrawal, and has proven to be an important incentive for new and increased donations to orchestras. The League and the broader nonprofit community are asking Congress to restore the IRA Rollover immediately and make the provision retroactive to gifts made beginning January 1. Thanks to the many orchestras who spoke up at the end of 2009 - please keep those emails to Congress coming. The most effective communications to the Hill include specific information about how the IRA Rollover has increased giving to your orchestra, and how those resources help you serve your community. The League will keep you posted on progress on this issue so that you, in turn, can communicate with your donors.

Weigh in to Restore the IRA Rollover
NEA FY11 Guidelines Now Available 

The National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) FY11 Grants for Arts Projects guidelines are now available on the NEA website. To assist orchestras with the application process, the League has again outlined helpful tips for preparing your application, including new information about the process. Orchestras may also contact an NEA specialist to talk through the application.

pdf Read the League's Tips for NEA Grant Applications
Arts in Education Grants Available at U.S. Dept. of Education
A small but important pool of funding is available at the U.S. Department of Education to support arts education in our nation's schools. The U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD) is currently accepting applications for FY10 awards. These highly competitive grants enable schools and organizations to integrate standards-based arts education into elementary and middle school curricula and improve students' academic performance. Eligible programs must be administered in partnership with a local education agency and can be up to four years in duration, with the first year used to plan an imbedded evaluation process.

At least five previous AEMDD awards have supported school-based collaborations with orchestras, including the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is February 16, 2010 and the deadline for applications is March 16, 2010.

Learn More About USED Grants
New Moving Date Set for Wireless Microphones

The wireless microphone technology in use by orchestras and other performing arts organizations continues to undergo regulatory changes. Following TV's transition to digital, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is re-examining the allowable uses of the broadcast spectrum currently occupied by wireless microphone technology. The FCC has announced plans to enforce their call for wireless microphone users to vacate the 700 MHz portion of the broadcast spectrum as of June 12, 2010. In order to comply with new FCC requirements, orchestras and the venues in which they perform need to make plans to vacate the 700 MHz Band immediately. The FCC has created a web page to assist wireless microphone users. The League, in partnership with our colleagues in the Performing Arts Alliance, is in ongoing communication with the FCC as the agency considers broader changes to requirements for the use of wireless microphones. We are encouraging the FCC to find solutions for nonprofit arts organizations to ensure that wireless microphone use is affordable and free of interference during performances.

Check Your Equipment and Learn Answers to More FAQs


Please direct any related questions to Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Najean Lee, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America