NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Arts Funding (Pork) Pie Sliced Evenly

April 29, 1998

After learning last year that a third of all congressional districts get no money from the National Endowment for the Arts, Congress placed a 15 percent cap on how much money arts organizations in each state could receive. Only organizations that could prove their grants had "national" impact would be exempt.

The NEA says the $60 million in grants being released today are more evenly distributed.

  • Some $34 million in grants go to state arts agencies and $25 million to nonprofit arts groups.
  • By claiming that 66 of its projects had "national impact," New York snared 204 of the 768 grants going to nonprofits -- 26 percent of the total.
  • The NEA's largest grant to a nonprofit for this funding cycle was $500,000 for the New England Foundation for the Arts -- half the amount it received in 1996.
  • Several religious-theme projects received NEA money -- including five Jewish-related projects, as well as a play featuring a Hindu goddess known for her habit of devouring human flesh and blood, described as "combining Hindu mythology and Western sensibility."

Observers say the most unusual grant may be the $5,000 awarded to a Worcester, Mass., group. The project is "Road Warriors: Knight Riders," an exposition comparing "medieval armor and knighthood with contemporary motorbike culture."

Source: Julia Duin, "NEA Says Its Pie Is More Evenly Sliced Among the States," Washington Times, April 29, 1998.


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