Lin-Manuel Furthermore, it is the young, poor and

            Lin-Manuel Miranda, American actor,
playwright and composer, showcased his first musical at the O’Neill Musical
Theatre Center, partly financed by government funds. He would go on to Broadway
with his musical and cultural phenomenon, Hamilton. However, his success would
not have been possible without federal art funds that he attributed to every
formative stage of his career. Federal arts funding by the National Endowment
for the Arts (NEA), an independent federal agency offering funding for the arts,
offers citizens access to the arts, an important aspect of the enrichment of
education for children, the economy, local communities, small arts groups and
individuals. Federal funding the arts is necessary and beneficial to all U.S.

            Federal funding for the arts is
important for children, enriching their education and lives. The NEA has more
goals than providing access to and promoting the arts. Robert Lynch, president
of the Americans for the Arts, an assembly of local arts agencies, states that
the NEA is promoting the use of arts to mend and address social problems – young
people at risk of crime and drugs (Clark 920). For example, arts programs can
be utilized for rehabilitation for troubled youth such as the recently enacted
federal crime bill and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Clark 914). Ronald
Dworkin, American philosopher and jurist, insists that it is important for
people to live within a diverse cultural infrastructure and that we should give
to our later generations what we inherited from our previous generations: a
multifarious framework (Carroll 33). Furthermore, it is the young, poor and
minorities that benefit greatly from the programs supported by the NEA because
rate of arts participation is countercyclical: in periods of recession and
great unemployment, participation and attendance in the arts rises, and vice
versa. (Greenblatt 597).

NEA stimulates the arts which significantly fuels the U.S. economy. According
to Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit arts organization, nonprofit arts
programs annually generate in tax revenue a return of $27.5 billion and $166.3
billion in economic activity every year, providing 4.6 million jobs (Greenblatt
583-84). In 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts and
cultural production contributed 4.2 percent of the GDP, or $729.6 billion worth
of economic activity (Greenblatt 589). Needless to say, the arts mean business.
Furthermore, funding for the arts in local communities contribute to economic
development, including reviving urban centers that have been on the decline (Harsell
76). And ultimately, the federal and state governments have the responsibility
of providing people the right of the pursuit of happiness, which includes
providing the opportunity for people to pursue the line of work they most
desire (Carroll 30).

funding contributes to the thriving of cities and small communities. The NEA
helps promote access to the arts in local communities such as performing arts
shows, theater shows and museums, by providing grants to state arts agencies
and organizations (Greenblatt 584). While the NEA does not contribute a huge
portion to the overall funding of the arts, the support of funding from the NEA
can establish legitimacy and thus support for a project or organization in regional
communities, from other sponsors. According to the NEA, every one dollar that
is granted by the NEA will produce eight or nine dollars of grants, donations
or earnings (Harsell 77). The NEA cannot subsidize individual artists. It
provides grants to every congressional district in the United States, a quarter
of the grants going to rural areas. Furthermore, the NEA has been particularly
alert about its beneficiaries being mostly big cities on the coast such as Los
Angeles and New York (Greenblatt 597). Federal arts funding also allow the
funds to be used for enriching the culture and economic development of cities
and specific neighborhoods (Greenblatt 585).

NEA supports small arts groups and organizations that would otherwise have
little support. Garrison Keillor attributes the NEA in its crucial help to
jumpstart A Prairie Home Companion, a
popular live weekly variety show in Minnesota (Harsell 77). Government support
for the arts is critical because it attracts other donors to programs and
organizations that would otherwise go on the decline. The NEA works with
regional arts agencies so that the programs that would enrich the community,
would thrive (Greenblatt 585). Federal arts funding also impact those who don’t
directly have access to participate or attend the arts. They can enjoy the arts
through radio or T.V. programs such as the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Lin-Manuel Miranda specfically attributes watching PBS’ Great Performances to changing his life to the career choice in the
performing arts (Greenblatt 586). However the NEA may provide support for small
communities, it is up to the state governments to promote the arts in their
state. The states that already do support the arts industry and other “social
investment” programs in their state simply receive greater stimulus (Hofferbert
and Urice 327).

public funding for the arts will ensure that the benefits of the arts is
provided for

citizens. Not only is there evidence to back up the significance of the arts
and federal arts funding, but people are also aware of its importance.
According to a 1993 poll commissioned by the National Cultural Alliance (NAC),
a large majority of the 81 percent of Americans agree that the arts and
humanities help provide greater economic prosperity in society also agree that
the arts enrich their local community (Clark 915). Edward H. Able, president of
the American Association of Museums (AAM), regards the NEA as the “critical
third leg of a stool” of what the government should provide for its citizens,
along with science and the humanities (Clark 918). The benefits of federal arts
funding are not exclusive to residents in the U.S. People from foreign
countries participate in the enjoyment from and access to the arts from
America, and vice versa. American ballet students receive scholarships from
prestigious French ballet schools, furthering the refinement of their education
in their vocation, and that goes the same for opportunities in America provided
for foreigners (Howard 95). Through its demonstrated efforts, the NEA continues
to uphold its original intent in creating the federal agency in 1965 of being a
legitimate function of the public sector, providing for its citizens what they
deserve (Harsell 96).


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