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Tonight President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union speech before the United States Congress where he addressed three areas of concern that resonate with arts advocates: federal spending, jobs and education policy. Earlier this week, 165 conservative members of Congress representing the Republican Study Committee called for termination of the National Endowment for the Arts and key arts education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. We know that the battle to protect these programs will be tough this year, but with your help, not insurmountable.
Several major newspapers across the country interviewed Americans for the Arts President and CEO Bob Lynch in response to the dubious notion that cutting the arts will actually reduce the nation’s deficit. In today’s New York Times, Bob pointed out that the arts support 5.7 million jobs in the United States that generate about $30 billion in taxes, nearly $13 billion of which goes to the federal government and said, "If they’re serious about jobs and they’re serious about income, they would invest more in the arts.”
Since 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts has been serving arts organizations and artists in every state and every community. The arts not only play an important role in our nation’s well-being and foster creativity and innovation, but they also create jobs and prepare our workforce to compete in the global economy. Including the arts in a comprehensive and formal education for every student is critical. The education reforms that the President and leaders in Congress should be looking at are ones that strengthen the role of the arts and truly implement it as a core academic subject in schools throughout the country.