President Obama’s FY16 Budget and What It Means for the Arts

On February 2, 2015, The Obama Administration released its FY 2016 budget request with an increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) of almost 2 million dollars.

If passed by Congress and signed by the President, the NEA would receive $147.9 million in federal funding, above its current level of $146.0 million.

In FY2014 and FY2015, President Obama requested $154.5 and $146.0 million for the NEA.

Obama FY16 budget chart

What we are calling for support a budget of $155 million for the NEA in the FY 2016 Interior Appropriations Bill.

  • The arts put people to work, employing 3.35 million people through more than 905,000 businesses nationwide. In Illinois alone, the nonprofit arts sector supports more than 78,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • When public arts funding is lost, private dollars do not reliably pick up the slack. Programs for lower‐income populations and at‐risk children are typically hit hardest.
  • State arts agencies extend the reach of federal arts dollars. Forty percent of all NEA program funds are re-granted through state arts agencies, including the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Sources: 2015 Congressional Arts Handbook (Americans for the Arts); Arts and Economic Prosperity IV (Arts Alliance Illinois and Americans for the Arts)