If approved, the $18 million raise would push the NEA budget to $139.4 million, the largest increase since 1984. The additional appropriations would help to fund a major new initiative, "American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius" — a three-year program which would highlight the American cultural and artistic legacy to be presented across the country. "Through 'American Masterpieces,' citizens will reconnect with our Nation's great artistic achievements and rich cultural heritage," Bush explained. "I'm especially pleased at the program's focus on arts education, as it is crucial that the knowledge and appreciation of our cultural legacy begins in our schools."
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia stated "'American Masterpieces' is the most ambitious undertaking in the NEA's history. It will encompass multiple art forms and will reach hundreds of cities, large and small, across all 50 states, as well as thousands of schools and dozens of military bases. We will bring the masterpieces of American culture from painting to modern dance, theater to jazz, classical music to literature."
For more information on the National Endowment for the Arts and its programs, visit them on the web at www.nea.gov.