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in Filmmaking
on Feb 16, 2009

A few posts back I wrote about the Senate’s stripping of $50 million in additional National Endowment for the Arts funding from House-approved stimulus bill. Now, in the House-Senate compromise, that funding has been restored, due in part to a last-minute lobbying push by arts advocates and arts groups nationwide. The New York Times gives detailed info, including word of Robert Redford’s efforts on behalf of the funding.

From the piece by Robin Pogrebin:

One would be hard pressed to argue that a call from Robert Redford to the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, helped salvage money for the arts in the economic-stimulus bill last week.

But it certainly didn’t hurt as arts-friendly members of the House and Senate struggled to preserve $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the final version of the recovery package, approved by both houses on Friday….

In his conversation last week with Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, Mr. Redford said, he drew on his film experience to argue for the arts as an economic engine. “Ticket takers or electricians or actors — all the people connected with the arts are at risk just like everybody else is,” he said in an interview. He said he also reminded Ms. Pelosi that his Sundance Film Festival brings more than $60 million to Park City, Utah, each year.

Forty percent of the new funding, which is just more than a third of the NEA’s previous annual budget, will go to state and regional arts agencies and 60% will go towards individual grants issued by the agency.

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