From our stages and screens at Lincoln Center in New York City—which draw more than six million people to the largest performing arts center in the world—to theaters, concert halls, and galleries across America, the arts inspire and delight people from every walk of life, at every stage of life.
A child's early introduction to ballet teaches strength and discipline. A veteran's exposure to art therapy brings healing and hope. A student's participation in music class improves math scores and critical thinking skills. Art shapes achievement, with profound and practical effects.
Still more, art anchors communities. In American cities and towns, arts institutions and districts are breathing life into neighborhoods—attracting investment, spurring development, fueling innovation, and creating jobs. Arts and culture help power the U.S. economy at the astounding level of $704.2 billion each year.
Beyond our shores, American arts institutions are the envy of the world. In a unique public-private model, private sources provide the vast majority of funding for our artists and arts organizations. Government helps in targeted ways at pivotal moments, for example, by providing early funding to get projects off the ground or helping to create or expand promising initiatives to achieve greater reach and impact.
Underlying all of this is the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more than 50 years, the NEA has provided leadership in the public arts arena. Yet today it faces an uncertain future as its federal funding is considered for elimination. The total cost of the NEA is less than one dollar a year for every American. But because it is so successful and its imprimatur so prestigious, every dollar the NEA contributes leads to nine additional dollars being donated from other sources.
A great America needs that kind of return.
We hold close the words of Lincoln Center's inaugural president, John D. Rockefeller III, who said, "The arts are not for the privileged few, but for the many. Their place is not on the periphery of daily life, but at its center. They should function not merely as another form of entertainment but, rather, should contribute significantly to our well-being and happiness."
To preserve the human and economic benefits of the arts, we urge continued federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Suzanne Davidson, Executive Director
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Greg Scholl, Executive Director
The Juilliard School
Joseph W. Polisi, President
Lincoln Center Theater
André Bishop, Producing Artistic Director
The Metropolitan Opera
Peter Gelb, General Manager
New York City Ballet
Katherine Brown, Executive Director
New York Philharmonic
Matthew VanBesien, President
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Jacqueline Z. Davis, Barbara G. & Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director
School of American Ballet
Marjorie Van Dercook, Executive Director
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Liza Parker, Chief Operating Officer