Loss of arts funding will affect Prescott | The Daily Courier

NEA and NEH’s portion of the National Budget

The proposed $1.5 trillion federal budget included a 100 percent funding cut for 19 federal agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEA’s and NEH’s $148 million budgets would each be eliminated; $148 million is 0.003 percent of the 2016 federal budget.

Local citizens are protesting the current administration and Congress’ proposed federal budget blueprint that would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, two of 19 programs on President Donald Trump’s chopping block.

Several Prescott-area entities have benefitted from Arizona Humanities grants, which receive funding from taxpayers’ contributions to NEH and NEA. In fact, over the past 10 years, Arizona Humanities has awarded 18 grants to Prescott-based organizations totaling $67,555.

It has temporarily suspended its project grants until lawmakers reach an agreement on the budget, the Arizona Humanities website states.

“Recipients in the Prescott area include libraries, museums, community colleges and festivals,” said Samantha Anderson, Arizona Humanities grants manager.

In FY2014-15, for example, Prescott Film Festival received a $5,000 grant. Festival Director Helen Stephenson said the money was used to support the High School Student Film Competition.

“Starting this year, the Yavapai College Film and Media Arts Program took over that competition,” she said, adding that in other years, those grants helped pay for a graphic designer to create a festival poster and program guide.

Grants and ticket sales are the Festival’s main sources of funding that also includes donations. “The grants are important for small nonprofits,” Stephenson said.

Yavapai College Literary Southwest series also has been a recipient of Arizona Humanities/NEH grants over the past nine years. These have helped keep the series viable and expand its reach into the community, said series director Jim Natal.

Major literary talent, including bestselling author C.J. Box, has come to Prescott thanks to these grants.

“The Literary Southwest actually owes its existence to an NEA grant the college received in 2008. The series was founded using that money,” Natal said. “So the importance of federal funding for this kind of arts and humanities programming – statewide and nationally – cannot be stressed enough.”

Schools, libraries, museums, service clubs, historical societies, any nonprofit group, are eligible to apply for Arizona Humanities grants if the program or project takes place in Arizona or has a direct significance to Arizona. The most recent Arizona Humanities’ financial report for this fiscal year, which ends Oct. 31, shows contributions from the NEH of $751,360, in addition to other…

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