March 28, 2019 | Advocacy 


On March 18, President Trump released his FY 2020 budget recommending, for the third consecutive year, complete termination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  In the last two fiscal years, Congress has firmly rejected this proposal − opting instead for minor increases (see chart below).  The NEA not only supports access to the arts and arts programming throughout the United States but also directly supports art therapy services through the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network.  For FY 2020, we are joining Americans for the Arts (AftA) in request that Congress fund the NEA at no less than $167.5 million, a $12.5 million increase from FY 2019.

Image courtesy of the Arts Action Fund.

Here is how we are advocating to #SAVEtheNEA and how you can join the cause!

Call to Action

Write to your Representative to Increase the NEA! The Arts Action Fund provides this handy templated email to help compose and send your message. Join the conversation on social media using #SAVEtheNEA!

Testimony before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

On February 26 Christopher Stowe Master Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (ret.), testified on behalf of the AATA before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. As a former Creative Forces participant at National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed, Mr. Stowe shared his own story of how art therapy “helped save my life” and urged funding of the NEA at $167.5 million for FY 2020.  Watch the full testimony here.

(From left) Christopher Stowe, Master Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (ret.); Cynthia Woodruff, AATA Executive Director; and AftA President and CEO Robert Lynch.


Arts Advocacy Day 2019

We joined 85 partner organizations and more than 450 arts advocates from 48 states on Capitol Hill for the AftA’s Annual Arts Action Summit.  Core among a variety of issues brought up in meetings with legislators and staff was funding for the NEA and other cultural agencies.

For months leading up to the event, the AATA participated on the Legislative Planning Committee on the subcommittees for Arts in Health and Arts and the Military to help set legislative priorities for the year.  In addition to contributing to the issue briefs in the 2019 Congressional Arts Handbook, the AATA was represented during the training sessions on March 4th by Immediate Past President, Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC.

Dr. Betts joins Judy Simpson, MT-BC, with the American Music Therapy Association and Naj Wikoff with the National Organization for Arts in Health in leading advocacy training sessions: “Improving Health through the Arts” and “Supporting our Military and Veterans through the Arts.”


A full recap of the event will be available on AftA’s website shortly.