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.

Urge Your Representative to Cosign a Letter Urging Improved Access to Arts Education

Arts organizations partner with schools and their communities to advance arts education as an essential part of a well-rounded education for each student. Unfortunately, despite a wide body of evidence showing the academic, social, and emotional benefits of learning in the arts, students do not have equitable access to arts education. Federal leadership can help ensure that all students have access to the benefits of a complete arts education.

Please take a moment to urge your member of the U.S. House of Representatives to cosign a letter organized by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (OR) and Chellie Pingree (ME) to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the Department to take action to track and improve the status of arts education in our schools. Read the full text of the letter, and visit our campaign to find more details and a ready-made template for you to personalize a message to your Representative. 

The deadline for gathering signatures is December 6, so please take action ASAP!

SEND A LETTER NOW

VICTORY FOR THE ARTS IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES!

On November 2, two attempts to eliminate federal funding for the arts and humanities in the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior Appropriations were both soundly defeated!

Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA-10) sponsored two floor amendments:

  • Amendment #60 to eliminate all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was defeated by a vote of 292-129
  • Amendment #61 to eliminate all funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was defeated by a vote of 292 to 132.
  • 100% of Democrats voted against both amendments and were joined by a strong 39% of Republicans to make it a bipartisan declaration that Congress supports the arts and culture. You can now see your House member voted on the NEA vote and the NEH vote.

This victory is due, in no small part, to the hard work of arts advocates across the country. While more work needs to be done to match the Senate number for FY2024, this victory demonstrates the influence arts advocates have when united to support important federal arts programs.

 This House bill will now move to the Senate, where a difference in funding levels will be reconciled. The House level sets both agencies at $186 million each while the Senate recommends $207 million each. Americans for the Arts will be lobbying for the higher level.

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