The National Endowment for the Arts won a $4.4 million increase in its 2006 budget. Approximately $3 million of the NEA increase will restore funding to the popular Challenge America program, providing arts grants to under-served communities, which President Bush’s original budget had originally cut by $6.5 million. The remaining $2 million of the NEA increase will fund the new American Masterpieces program, which sponsors presentations of great American works across all art forms.
“Given the current national budget deficit and the administration’s proposed overall flat funding for the NEA, this increase is a victory for America’s arts community,” said Hal Ponder, the AFM’s director of government relations. “Many thanks to the more than 1,500 AFM members who took action through our online campaigns to help secure this significant funding increase.”