Advocate for the Arts in America


Yesterday we received word that the Federal budget recommendations made by the Trump administration included elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and other agencies that support the arts and humanities in our country. I’m am writing to ask for your advocacy on behalf of the Louisville Orchestra, but on the greater scale, on behalf of the creative spirit of all Americans.

Federal support for the arts is uniquely valuable. The NEA vision is a nation in which every American benefits from arts engagement, and every community recognizes and celebrates its aspirations and achievements through the arts. We believe in this vision because we have seen this spirit alive and thriving in Louisville.

In support of that vision, direct grants from the NEA to arts organizations (including the Louisville Orchestra) have reached more than 20 million people and impacted almost 16,000 communities through NEA-supported programs. The Kentucky Arts Council receives $850,000 from the NEA and redistributes grants that make possible myriad programs (particularly in rural regions). Our own Festival of American Music, which has supported new compositions, visits of renowned guest musicians and our own LO musicians, has had a noteworthy impact on our community. It’s also important to point out that 40% of NEA-supported activities, nationwide, take place in high-poverty neighborhoods.

The NEA’s budget is $148 million – that’s 0.004% of the federal budget and 47 cents per capita. In support of the arts, these funds are matched at a ratio approaching 10:1. Investment in the arts calculates a contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) of 4.23% — an impressive $698 billion annually.

Tell the Kentucky congressional delegation that you support the NEA and expect them to do the same. Congress has the final word on federal budget allocations.

Tuesday, March 21 is “National Arts Advocacy Day” and I will be in Washington, D. C., with my counterparts from Louisville arts groups to visit our representatives.

  • Please contact Senator Mitch McConnell, Jr., and Senator Rand Paul and your representative in the U.S. House: District 3 (Louisville and surrounding) – John Yarmuth; District 2 (Bowling Green and surrounding) – Brett Guthrie; District 4 (Covington and surrounding) – Thomas Massie; District 6 (Frankfort/Lexington) – Andy Barr
  • Contact especially District 6 (Mt. Vernon and surrounding) — Hal Rogers, Republican Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Find contact information and other action items in support of the NEA at (a project of Americans for the Arts). Your personally written email or letter or even a phone call makes a difference!

On behalf of everyone at the LO, I am gratefully yours,

Andrew Kipe
Executive Director
Louisville Orchestra