Get Ready for the Luncheon: NEA Fast Facts

The National Endowment for the Arts found itself caught up in headlines last year when the President proposed its elimination, and again last month when that outcome failed to pass. Instead of elimination, the endowment saw a slight increase in the new FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill.

ArtsFund is honored that NEA Chairman Jane Chu will be keynoting our 2018 Celebration of the Arts Luncheon on May 8, speaking on the power of the arts in cities and in communities. In preparation for her visit, here are 10 interesting facts about the NEA.

  1. Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency that works to give people across America the opportunity to participate in and experience the arts.
  2. In total the NEA has awarded around $5 billion dollars in support of the arts in America.
  3. 36% of NEA grants go to organizations that reach underserved populations such as people with disabilities, people in institutions, and veterans. 33% of NEA grants serve low-income audiences.
  4. In FY 2017, the NEA recommended more than 2,400 grants reaching every Congressional District in the country.
  5. 40 percent of all NEA funding is assigned directly to the states through partnerships with the state and regional arts agencies, of which Washington State receives an average of $800,000, granted out through ArtsWA, the Washington State Arts Commission.
  6. Partnership support from the NEA also funds other ArtsWA programing including Poetry Out Loud and the Teaching Artist Training Lab.
  7. The NEA awarded 66 grants to Washington state organizations in 2017, including 30 ArtsFund Cultural Partners.
  8. The NEA’s program Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is placing creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 11 clinical sites throughout the country, including Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. In addition, Creative Forces provides increased arts opportunities for military and veteran families.
  9. Last September, ArtsWA hosted a Creative Forces summit to bring together the arts and military communities
  10. In FY 2017, the NEA awarded a Creativity Connects grant to  the University of Washington to support the development of the Encephalophone, a Brain Computer Music Interface. This will enable patients suffering from motor disability to create improvised music in real time using cognitive control.

Karen Hanan, ArtsWA Executive Director, with Jane Chu and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Founder Cynthia Sears

To learn more about the NEA visit
To learn more about Chairman Chu visit
To learn more about ArtsWA visit
To learn more about the Celebration of the Arts Luncheon or to register visit