Lincoln Center Urges Continued Support For Federal Arts Funding (Update)

For example, a recent comprehensive study conducted by the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania found that cultural assets in New York City’s neighborhoods improve citizens’ health and safety and increase the effectiveness of local schools. The same is true in cities and towns across the country.

Since 2012, Lincoln Center ’s 11 arts organizations have received a combined total of nearly $5 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. These grants have helped make dozens of initiatives possible: music education programs in New York City public schools; public television series; high-definition webcasts; tuition-free education and community activities; free outdoor programming; world premiere productions; commissions of new works; and so much more.

Beyond these benefits, art institutions and districts provide an economic boost for American cities and towns, breathing life into neighborhoods by attracting investment, spurring development, fueling innovation, and creating jobs. Arts and culture help power the U.S. economy at the astounding level of $704.2 billion each year.

American arts institutions are also a source of national pride on the world stage. In a unique model, private sources provide the vast majority of funding for our artists and arts organizations, with government funding used conservatively and in targeted ways: by providing early funding to get projects off the ground, for example, or helping to create or expand promising initiatives to achieve greater reach and impact.

The total cost of the National Endowment for the Arts, for instance, amounts to less than a dollar a year for every American. But the prestige of an National Endowment for the Arts grant leads to donations of nine additional dollars from other sources for every one dollar from the federal budget. The other programs offer similar returns on investment.

As leaders in the performing arts field, we firmly believe that it is our responsibility to stand up for and with all who will be most affected by these proposed cuts, from small-town theaters and orchestras to children and veterans enrolled in educational and therapeutic programs, not to mention the artists themselves and the country as a whole. The arts feed the soul; jobs in the arts feed families and nourish communities. We urge that funding be continued.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Suzanne Davidson, Executive Director

Film Society of Lincoln Center 
Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director

Jazz at Lincoln Center 
Greg Scholl, Executive Director

The Juilliard School
Joseph W. Polisi, President

Lincoln Center Theater
André Bishop, Producing Artistic Director

The Metropolitan Opera
Peter Gelb, General Manager

New York City Ballet
Katherine Brown, Executive Director

New York Philharmonic
Matthew VanBesien, President

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Jacqueline Z. Davis, Barbara G. & Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director

School of American Ballet
Marjorie Van Dercook, Executive Director

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Debora L. Spar, President

Founders Note: I support Lincoln Center’s call to attention as arts funding comes under attack – I’m an advocate for growing arts funding, Danny Tisdale, CEO and Founder, Harlem World Magazine, Inc. 

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