New York – Kate Shindle, President of Actors' Equity Association, the national labor union representing professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, released the following statement in response to reports that the new spending deal approved by the House and Senate this week raises funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to $162.5 million in the new government funding bill.
“I’m thrilled to see that once again a bipartisan majority of Congress agrees that the National Endowment for the Arts is a vital program that creates middle-class jobs all across the country. The arts add more than $760 billion to our economy and help drive tourism and local businesses in cities large and small. With protections to ensure that performing artists who receive grants are paid a living wage, the NEA is a critical part of supporting the national arts economy. Actors’ Equity will continue to fight for arts funding like the NEA, which provides important seed funding for countless new theatrical productions.”
Actors’ Equity is committed to protecting funding for the NEA. Equity is a National Sponsor of Arts Advocacy Day which is held annually in coordination with Americans for the Arts. This year, Equity members held 34 meetings with Republicans and Democratic offices to make a direct appeal to Congress about the importance of the NEA.
When President Trump first announced a budget that would completely eliminate the NEA in 2017, Shindle spoke at the National Press Club on the day his first budget was released to demand that Congress fund the NEA. Since then, Equity members across the country gathered to support the NEA and signed thousands of petitions asking Congress to fund the NEA. Equity also joined with a coalition that included 11 other national unions representing 4 million workers to support NEA funding.