The $18 million increase was announced by First Lady Laura Bush last January. Most of the money was to be put toward American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius, a program meant to bring the best of American arts: in dance, theater, classical music, jazz, and literature: to the American public via touring groups, presentations, and artists assigned to each of the 50 states.
Groups slated to receive money for the program included the Martha Graham and Paul Taylor dance companies.
Although the funds for American Masterpieces have been slashed, the program will continue. NEA Chairman Dana Gioia told Post, "We are now reworking 'American Masterpieces' with the available funds. We remain committed to rebuilding the endowment as an institution fully capable of meeting the country's enormous needs in access to the arts and arts education."
The NEA will receive $121.2 million in fiscal year 2005, compared to $120.97 in 2004.
Other arts and humanities organizations are receiving increases in the new appropriations bill. The Smithsonian Institution will receive $615 million, up from $596 million; the National Endowment for the Humanities will receive $138 million, up from $135 million; the National Gallery of Art will receive $103.1 million, up from $98.2 million; and the Kennedy Center will receive $33.49 million.
In related news, the NEA announced $21 million in Access to Excellence grants to national, regional, state, and local organizations, and in literature fellowships for individuals. Access to Excellence grants fund the creation and presentation of works, through agencies, in all genres. Out of a total of 1,353 eligible applications, the NEA is awarding grants to 780 projects.