Springfield Area Arts Council

The SAAC mission is to enrich the community through the arts. We work to increase access to the arts through all segments of our community including arts experiences and arts education for young and old alike. Because exposure to the arts has real, measurable impact. Research from the U.S. Department of Justice demonstrates students who participate in the arts, both in school and after school, show increased academic performance. Data from The College Board shows students who take 4 years of arts and music classes while in high school score 98 points better on their SATs than students who took only a half year or less. The National Institute on Aging reports that “research on music, theater, dance, creative writing, and other participatory arts shows promise for improving older adults’ quality of life and well-being, from better cognitive function, memory, and self-esteem to reduced stress and increased social interaction.”

These results show that the arts are far from expendable. 

But as economic anxieties rise, the funding of arts experiences and education is threatened. What can you do to help? It’s simple. The resources below will help you make a real impact in keeping the arts alive and accessible throughout Illinois. 

Help secure FY24 Funding for the NEA and NEH

Congress will soon conclude its summer recess after Labor Day. Now, we must prepare our advocacy efforts for possible floor votes on upcoming appropriations legislation impacting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), arts education, and many other key federally funded cultural programs. 

Unfortunately, far-right House Freedom Caucus members have been proposing deep budget cuts and inserting disturbing social and cultural amendments to various pieces of legislation that threaten free expression, choice, identity, and efforts to promote diversity and equity. This trend indicates we must be prepared for similar amendments to upcoming bills headed to the House floor next month that could possibly add restrictive free expression clauses to federally funded arts and arts education programs.

Source: Americans for the Arts

Please take a moment to urge your Members of Congress to support the President’s FY 2024 budget request of $211 million each for NEA and NEH funding and be prepared to vote NO on any weakening amendments that lower funding levels or limit artistic expression. —>

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP)

Enacted in March 2021, ARP provides federal COVID recovery aid to state and local governments. Illinois local governments are receiving a combined $5.5 billion in assistance, known as Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (LFRF). Half the funding is currently on its way to localities, and the remainder will arrive in approximately one year.

Local governments have until December 31, 2024 to spend the federal aid, but since they are receiving some of it now, many are already under way with their process of deciding how to allocate the funds. Because localities have considerable flexibility in how to use the dollars, LFRF provides a unique opportunity for artists, arts organizations, and creative businesses to secure local government support – but you must act quickly and strategically.

Arts Alliance Illinois has constructed a toolkit on advocating for funds for the arts and culture at the local level. 

Get the Arts Alliance Illinois Advocacy Toolkit Here ->

Here’s What You Can Do To Protect National Arts And Culture Funding – In just six easy steps | Huffpost

Americans for the Arts Advocacy Toolkit

Visit the Americans for the Arts Action Fund Arts Advocacy Center to learn about and take action on the latest Arts policy legislation and campaigns: https://www.artsactionfund.org/ActionCenter