This affects everyone involved in the arts. You can’t say that often.
From today’s Washington Post:
Gioia, 57, is scheduled to participate in a discussion today at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in Chattanooga, Tenn., and outline his plans.
During his term, Gioia spearheaded a vigorous program of initiatives that quelled much of the criticism of the agency, especially from conservative groups. Also, through a landmark study on reading, he gave adult literacy an unexpected platform.
The rebuilding of the NEA, the largest funder of the arts in the country, began after a ferocious attack on the agency in the 1990s by conservative members of Congress, who cut the budget from a high of $175.9 million in the early 1990s to $99.4 million in 1996. Gioia’s predecessors, actress Jane Alexander and folklorist Bill Ivey, worked to restore confidence and save the budget, a process that Gioia continued. “We have taken the NEA into a more active position,” Gioia said. Funding for the agency has risen to $144.7 million for fiscal 2008. “When I came here, it was an interesting job with unbearable pressure; now it is bearable with pressure,” he said.