This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.

NEA Funding Creeping Back Up

Karen Finley, of the Four, via

Though the NEA Four won the legal battle surrounding the veto of their grants, its difficult to count the organization itself as anything other than a casualty of the culture war. Operating with a budget of $176m in 1992 conservative pressure cut NEA funding to a low of $99.5m in 1996. Now, Barack Obama has approved a budget increase that would put NEA funding at $170m in 2010, still $6m below its 1992 levels, and that after 18 years of inflation. Furthermore, the NEA is still disallowed from funding individual artists, another concession made to a conservative Congress. All of the above damage was done while Clinton was in office, and now, with the Republican party on the verge of extinction, and Obama spending money like water, the left still lacks either the political clout or the desire to restore arts funding to what it was under Bush I. That, and Obama picked a Republican to lead the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is a bit like putting a jellyfish in charge of agriculture.