For those who did not know, on December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act into law. This is huge in terms of tax provisions and their effects on charitable giving. For the past decade, there have been many debates on tax reform and wanting to do away with charitable giving tax reductions as a possible way to increase revenue for the federal government. Cutting charitable tax reductions could be a temporary fix to the growing debt that our country currently operates under, however it would have a negative impact on the nonprofit sector- particularly the arts- who heavily rely on charitable donations from donors. Charitable tax reductions are incentives for donors to give generously.
The passing of the PATH Act allows for making the IRA Charitable Rollover a permanent fix. This is a big win for the dance and arts communities in terms of funding and charitable tax deductions especially since provisions to this law have expired several times throughout the past decade and hasn’t been renewed since December 31, 2014! It is my hope that it will secure and spur new and increased donations to arts and cultural institutions and a large array of nonprofits that serve Americans each and every day.
In addition to the PATH Act, President Obama also signed the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Both bills called to increase the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget to $147.949 million. This is almost a $2 million increase!
And what a perfect time to increase the budget for the NEA as it celebrates its 50th anniversary! On September 29,1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act which established both the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities along with their respective councils. With a budget of $2.5 million funding 22 institutions and 135 individual artists led under the direction of Chairman Robert L. Stevens, the NEA worked to give both “genuine attention and substantive support” to the arts as quoted by Stevens himself. Throughout its 50 year history, the NEA has helped to nurture the arts and making them more accessible to all people in many art forms including dance, music, theater, visual arts, healing arts, traditional and folk art.
Here is a video with more information about the NEA:
Comparing the current cultural landscapes from 50 years ago and today, things have changed. The original idea was to support and provide recognition for the arts. Today, we advocate how the arts are of value to the economy and how creativity enhances our lives. In addition to this, the way we present and preserve the arts has changed. This is due in part to advances in technology and artists moving to present their work in more nontraditional venues.
With these changing landscapes, the NEA has launched a new initiative called Creativity Connects- which will look at the arts and how they contribute to the nation’s creative ecosystem, investigate the ways in which the support systems for the artists are changing, and explore how the arts can connect with other sectors that want and utilize creativity.
Creativity Connects has three components:
In partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation, the NEA will build upon the Urban Institute’s Investing in Creativity study of 2003. This report will provide insight into how the environment and marketplace for artists have changed through developments in technology, the public’s perception, marketplace opportunities, shifting demographics, and changing practices in aesthetics. This report is scheduled to be released in June 2016.
Creativity isn’t limited to a studio, a museum, or a theater. Creativity can happen anywhere! There are so many other sectors outside the arts that use creativity such as business, technology, and science. The NEA is developing an interactive digital graphic that will show how the arts fit into the larger ecosystem. The goal is to help the public visualize the various types of projects that are happening when the arts connect with other sectors in the 21st century. A first draft of this map is scheduled to be release in the summer 2016.
Art Works: Creativity Connects Grants:
The NEA is launching a pilot grant opportunity to support partnerships between arts organizations and organizations in the non-arts sector such as business, health, education, finance, and law. As part of the Arts Works funding category, this grant is to demonstrate the value of the arts when they are collaborating with non-arts organizations, encourage these non-traditional relationships, and support the creation of innovative projects. Grants range from $20,000 and $100,000. For more information on this grant, please click here.
For more information about Creativity Connects, please click here!
I must say, I am personally excited of what is to come from the passing of the PATH Act, the increased budget for the National Endowment for the Arts and the new funding opportunities from these big win in Washington!