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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 02/14/2011

President suggests reductions for almost all cultural funding

By Jacqueline Trescott

In the administration's fiscal 2012 budget request, released Monday, the National Endowment for the Arts was penciled in for $146.2 million.

That number, which now has to be debated by Congress, represents a 13 percent reduction from the fiscal 2010 appropriated level of $167.5 million. Since the fiscal 2011 funding is contained in a continuing resolution, the agency is working with its 2010 numbers.

The president's budget request for the Smithsonian Institution is $861.5 million, which on the face of it is an increase from the fiscal 2010 appropriation of $761 million. However, the 2012 requests contain a restricted $125 million outlay for construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The budget sent to Capitol Hill by the administration is a starting point for discussions about the merits of government funding for the arts and humanities, as well as the value of initiatives the agencies fund. With some vocal members of the Republican-controlled House targeting the arts as excessive spending, the outcome of the budget requests is unclear.

Well aware of the administration's call for overall spending reductions in federal programs, the Smithsonian announced some reductions, including the closing of The Kids Farm at the National Zoo, most likely in late spring or summer.

The National Endowment for the Humanities was also slated for $146.2 million in fiscal 2012 by the administration.

The Kennedy Center, which receives funding only for its maintenance and repairs, was given a $50.5 proposal for fiscal 2012, compared to $57.8 million in fiscal 2010.

The National Gallery of Art has received the funding for the repair of the East Building facade, so its request was smaller. It is targeted for $138 million, a $29 million decrease from the fiscal 2010 budget.

The request for the National Archives and Records Administration represented a 8.2 percent decrease, proposing $423 million for its budget.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services was slated for $242.6 millon, a decrease from $282.2 in fiscal 2010.

The Americans for the Arts, a national organization that promotes art enterprises and lobbies for better funding, said the White House was shortchanging the arts field. "While we are pleased that cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian received additional funds and that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting saw continued support from the president, we believe the administration has missed the mark with such a deep cut to the primary federal source for leveraging support for cultural programs and public and private funding to every state and community in our country," said Robert Lynch, the group's president.

More on this story:

A look at the president's budget proposals for fiscal 2012

Video: Obama unveils budget; Republicans want more cuts

NEA chairman provokes heated debate: How much art is too much?

By Jacqueline Trescott  | February 14, 2011; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Museums, National Endowment for the Arts, Smithsonian  | Tags:  National Endowment for the Arts, Smithsonian Institution  
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Since when is 13% "slight"?

Posted by: josh18 | February 14, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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