Federal and state government investments form one tributary of the creative sector’s funding stream. With January’s change in the U.S. administration, potential trouble has arisen about this support for arts and cultural institutions.

Complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been suggested. While this is unsettling, the longer view advises that these discussions have been hashed through before (some may recall the national conversation of the 1990s, resulting in dramatic budget reductions for some national cultural organizations. This thorough historical review was published in 1998.)

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) — the nation’s chief advocacy agency in our sector — is prepared to lead the charge. Over the years, AFTA has created important and influential alliances. The Arts Council stays in regular touch with AFTA and generally seeks to align with their well-developed and strong advocacy positions. AFTA CEO Robert Lynch recently presented this view. Our understanding is that once Congress approves a continuation of the current budget year, funding is scheduled to be secure through September 2018. Strategies are currently being developed to address funding in the next budget cycle.

In Vermont, the legislature traditionally provides level-funded appropriations to four nonprofits: PBS Vermont, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Humanities Council, and the Vermont Symphony. For now, each has been included in the Governor’s FY2018 budget proposal. Testifying before House and Senate Appropriations Committees as well as other legislative committees will be the next step.

The Vermont Arts Council advocates for the creative sector at the state and national levels.

— information provided by Zon Eastes, Director of Outreach and Advancement at the Vermont Arts Council.