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Obama Administration Poised to Increase Funding for Arts Education??

In the special section on museums in today’s New York Times, an
article by Dorothy Spears titled When
The Gallery is a Classroom
, opened with the following :

“For years, with school budgets declining
in so many American cities, museums have provided a parallel universe for
learning. Now, with the Obama administration poised to support arts education
with increased financing, museums nationwide are eager to align themselves with
those efforts.”

Poised to support arts education with increased financing.” Sounds great? Absolutely. Better than great.
That being said, I cannot figure out the basis for the assertion of
increased funding for arts education. Is it the increase to the NEA budget? The
stimulus package? Advanced information? Extrapolated from Obama’s arts platform? Sure, the additional budget amount for the NEA (excluding the $50 million stimulus allocation) will see increased dollars for arts education, but it’s not designated for arts education and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to make that much of a dent. Plus, it’s already been approved in the spending bill.


It’s a terrific article, in terms of looking at certain aspects of museum education and outreach. But that first paragraph really jumps out at you and makes you wonder if it’s going to build up false hopes. I would like to be positive about this and hope that there’s something afoot in the administration near term (poised), that hasn’t been indicated yet.

If you’re wondering whether that increase is in the education portion of the stimulus bill, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For my next blog, I am going to do an update on that issue, but as a teaser, I can tell you that for the moment it appears that the arts would have to find a circuitous route into the $100 billion designated for education. Also, there are a couple of other bills to look at, including the GIVE Act, which is headed for passage, focusing on volunteerism and education. More to come on that too.

poised two.jpg


  1. Jane Remer says

    The arts have almost always had to find a backdoor or “devious” way to trap government funding. The only exceptions to that were the 1965 ESEA legislation that included the arts in Titles I, III and IV, the formation of the Arts (and Humanities) Foundations, and a few special sources of bounty running into the late 70s. With Reagan, categorical funding stopped, and except for the model demo arts projects, has never returned. In short, arts education is nodded at in some pieces of legislation but never singled out for specific “subsidy” since the 80’s.
    From my reading and research, I see no indication of a change in the status quo.

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  3. Christine F. Barneso says

    Museums are part of our education and outreach and though it has been forgotten long ago, museums still thrive and find ways to survive from the politics of elimination. I do not believe Obama will help and increase funding to museums, I would call that another political spiff but that will be swiftly forgotten to get back to the realities of disastrous budget deficits that this president is building.

  4. …”disastrous budget deficits that this president is building.”? are you serious? this article was written TWO MONTHS into the Obama administration, and the comment, later that same year. It’s like blaming the doctor for cutting into a patient who needs to have a limb removed…

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