Congress increased funding for arts and culture, including $198 million for the renovation of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Rejecting the Trump administration’s call to eliminate federal cultural agencies, Congress instead increased funding to three of the four agencies in the $1.3 trillion spending plan it approved early Friday.
The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities will receive $152.8 million each, an increase of $3 million. The Institute of Museum and Library Services will get $240 million, up from $231 million, while the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will remain at $465 million.
The president signed the measure Friday.
Americans for the Arts President and chief executive Robert L. Lynch called it a win for arts and culture and a stark contrast to the position taken by the administration, which sought to ax the agencies that support performing arts groups, museums, arts centers, public television and libraries.
“I am very pleased that members of Congress have decided to invest more funding into the arts — this support from both parties is a testament that the arts are bipartisan,” Lynch said in a statement. “The work of the NEA provides greater access to the arts for all, and makes positive impacts on citizens, families, communities, schools, and organizations across the country.”
Lynch praised the “unified, tireless, persistent work of the arts community and grass-roots advocates” across the country for their efforts.
The bill also provides critical support to the Smithsonian Institution and other federally funded arts groups in Washington. The Smithsonian will receive just over $1 billion, including $198 million for the first phase of the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum, a seven-year project expected to begin this year, and $10 million to finish a new storage facility required for the project. The bill provides $2 million for the Smithsonian’s recently announced Women’s History Initiative.
The National Gallery of Art will receive $165.9 million and the Kennedy Center will receive $40.5 million, a $4 million hike.
The $9 million increase to the Institute of Museum and Library Services will help individual libraries and museums, explained Director Kathryn K. Matthew.
“We’re honored to have additional funding for state libraries for America’s libraries and for our programs helping individual museums, including African American history and culture museums. We are also pleased to be able to increase support for libraries and museums serving Native American, Hawaiian and Alaskan tribal communities,” Matthew said.
In a statement, Corporation for Public Broadcasting President and chief executive Patricia Harrison expressed her gratitude.
“The legislation reaffirms that federal funding for public media is an investment that continues to deliver proven value and service to the American people. On behalf of the millions of Americans who benefit from public media’s services everyday, CPB thanks Congress for its longstanding support,” she said.