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The NEA'S 45 years of numbers

To mark the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts 45 years ago Wednesday, the agency whipped up a celebratory list of its statistics.

And the first was a whopper, even for the endowment, the country's largest grantmaker in the arts. In its history it has awarded $ 4 billion in grants to nonprofit groups.


Rocco Landesman, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts. (Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post)

Developing readers has been a major push for the NEA. Its Big Read program has been adopted across the country and 130 cities selected "To Kill a Mockingbird," making the classic by Harper Lee the most popular read.

When students were asked to select a poem in the 2006 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou was the number one favorite.

The agency tallied up how many winners of the major book awards---National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize in fiction--had also been recipients of the NEA Creative Writing Fellowships. The agency says 58 percent.

We know very few artists earn a living from just one job. So if that is your finger-painter's goal, the NEA says the most common full-time arts profession is graphic designer.

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, which created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, was signed by President Lyndon Johnson.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | September 29, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott  | Tags:  National Endowment for the Arts  
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