National Endowment for the Arts

SO as an artist it worried me when people said the new Prez is going to cut the NEA.

Would he cut something so important?! Something so GREAT that means to me than any other dumb thing we fund??! WHY?! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!!

Then when i stopped panicking, Ok lets be an adult..why would this be happening.
I had some chocolate and then I did some research. Because as we know Knowledge is Power.

I found out some interesting things,  SO many interesting things in fact i learned how to use word press so i could express them all in one spot.

SO to begin what is the NEA…

Well their website says :

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

Well that sounds like a great thing i am all for that!!

SO i started reading their PDF files on how to get money… well that is where it gets more complex.
IF you would like to get money you need to be:

TO BE ELIGIBLE, AN APPLICANT ORGANIZATION MUST: • Be nonprofit, tax-exempt. • Have a three-year history of programming. • Meet reporting requirements on any previous NEA awards. organization is limited to one application per year. Assistance is not available for general operating or seasonal support; the creation of new organizations; the construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities; or directly for individual elementary or secondary schools— charter, private, or public.

Ummmm well that cuts out most of the categories i would like to see get some funds.

SO i set out to find out some of the people who have gotten grants from the NEA a little more difficult to find online. I assumed they would proudly display all the grants on their site. So far not much luck. Some of them are prominently displayed and while i was searching i found the Qand A so thought i would check out that page on that i found out there is a NEA Inspector General Ronald
Stith ( I wanna say Sith but he is the good guy) he was appointed last june and he has been BUSY!!

There are a lot of documents in that area but i be damned if i can figure out what the hell they do.
I was looking for a sum up section where they say how much they saved by having the IG checking them out but i am wondering if it is costing more to have the department of people who oversee
than it is finding out what the hell is going on??? Still reading ill let you know.

OH in case any of you are looking for a career change
These are the current openings

Special Assistant to the Executive Director (GS-0301-9/11)
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Salary: $54,972.00 to $86,460.00 / Per Year
and a
Systems Accountant (GS-0510-13/13)
Office of Finance
Salary: $94,796.00 to $123,234.00 / Per Year
Open: Friday, January 13, 2017 to Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Glass door

is a site that allows employees and former empolyees to post about a business so you can decide if you want to work there.
A few quotes

Offices often empty due to teleworking, open plan offices mean you can hear everything everyone is saying, government structure can be overly rigid, uncertainty of funding year to year

The people who work at the NEA aren’t the sharpest, especially at the GS13 level and above.

Advice to Management
It’s time to realize technology has made the Endowment obsolete. Keep the money at the local level and skip this unnecessary bureaucracy and expense so far removed from the beneficiaries.

long time employees are ambivalent

Too much micro-management from senior leadership. There’s a somewhat paranoid atmosphere because of senior leadership style. Leadership not very friendly.

Should be less secrecy and more transparency.
Trust employees to do the work you hired them to do.

Interview: Submitted app thought USAjobs. Took 3 months to hear back. Called in for interview. It was clear they wanted someone younger than most of the applicants so I got the job.


I am going to take this moment to say i am not going to discuss what should for should not be considered art since i do not really understand or appreciate modern art. I will allow that some

modern are is well thought out and presented while others seem hastily put together and do not appeal to me. But for the sake of this argument lets assume all the art they fund is ‘GOOD ART”.

I know that is not to be true in my personal opinion and that some is more controversial than others. This also brings up an argument we have in the body painting field all the time. Is body painting pornography or art. Well it’s not pornography; except when it is.
That said i am against spending federal dollars on porn, or art that denigrates ANY religion or religious figures or is made of feces. That is just my personal opinion. I am sure there are plenty of people out there that will pay their hard earned cash for those themes but i am not one of them.
HOWEVER lets leave that argument out for now. K?


I found Alice Goldfarb Marquis is an author who wrote the book Art Lessons: Learning from the Rise and Fall of Public Arts Funding i am looking into ordering it sound interesting but her take is that that approximately half of NEA funds go to organizations that lobby the government for more money.  and  19 percent of their total budget is spent on administrative expenses. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of money left for the children. She also claims there have been many reorganizations with in the agency during administrations on both sides of the aisle however it
has not done any good.

Another problem i have with the system for ALL grants is they make it so difficult to fill out the paperwork you need to be an official “Grant Writer” just to get one. Sound like that would weed out most of the artists i know who would rather be creating art than sitting and writing a grant not to mention you need to come up with matching funds most times so if you would like 10,000 you need
to HAVE 10,000 to start out. THAT ALSO excludes most of the artists i know.

Today i learned some of the history of the NEA

It was started in 1964 by Lyndon Johnson who wanted to

NEA operations are overseen by a Chairman, who is appointed by the President. Providing the Chairman with expert advice is the National Council on the Arts, a board consisting of six members of Congress, and 14 people knowledgeable in the arts,

In the 1980s there were probles over art that was considered controversial by Andres Serrano (aka peed on Jesus photo ) and then again in the 1990s with Robert Mapplethorpe which when i googled I ended up with a dildo in the bum photo…hmmm

Congress responded by passing a law in 1990 requiring that the agency only fund works that meet “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public.” This law was the first content restriction that Congress had ever placed on the NEA.

The “NEA Four“, Karen Finley, Tim Miller, John Fleck, and Holly Hughes, were performance artists whose proposed grants from the United States government’s National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) were vetoed by John Frohnmayer in June

Was Karen Finley’s performance in which she “appeared on stage partially clothed, her body smeared with melted chocolate and alfalfa sprouts to symbolize denigration of women by forcing them to wallow in excrement and sperm” art that served the American people and therefore should have been entitled to government support?

Why can’t I get a grant for rubbing myself in chocolate or drinking an eyeball?? You must first pass through a peer review panel. How do they choose these peers??


How do they choose who will recieve a grant? With a peer review panel the rules for the peers were developed with a list of three criteria

  1.  appointments must be merit based;
  2. appointees must serve the panel as individuals, and may not make decisions based on any particular interest group, institution or viewpoint;
  3. the panels must be insulated from external pressures.

Gene Veith, a Wisconsin arts administrator, agrees that elitism is a problem. He writes that “artists no longer have to create works that appeal to the public. They have to create works that appeal to the grants makers.” This problem, he contends, “is multiplied in its effect when state governments, corporations, and even private buyers…defer to the same [NEA] peer-review panels.”

A little like the how the teachers in school teach to the test now instead of just teaching the subjects to the classes.

NEA opponents apply a “survival of the fittest” philosophy to the arts. If an arts program can only survive on government money, they contend, perhaps it shouldn’t exist at all. If artists have something of value to offer society, they argue, then people will buy their paintings, books, or recordings, or go to the theater to view their plays and movies.

I also wonder if this is one of the reasons people don’t value artists monetarily as they do other professions.

from their website:

Transparency and Confidentiality

at NEA We seek to make our review process  as transparent as possible, while
protecting the confidentiality of applicants, panelists, staff, and Council members. Our advisory panel meetings are announced in the Federal Register and panelists’ names are listed on our website once grants are announced. The public may not, however, attend panel meetings or Council sessions in which confidential application information is discussed. The names of applicants are kept confidential except for those who receive grants. We announce the names of grantees on our website. Sample application narratives from some grantees also may viewed on our website. Applicants not recommended for funding are notified. After notification, any applicant may ask for comments on their application. In such instances, we must be contacted no later than 30 days after the official notification.

Sounds transparent to me…?

Well you can search online to see who gets the grants or got them last years there are SO many things you need to choose from the menus making it difficult to get results however for NH it seem
Portsmouth and Concord get all the money.  Still looking at this tomorrow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *