National Arts Index: What does it mean for Baltimore?

Undoubtedly many of you have been caught up in the recent national news of the potential $21 million cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as proposed by the Obama administration in his FY12 budget. I’m sure you’ve all received calls to action from the many associations who represent us nationally–and now I’ll do the same: call or write your representatives and ask them to support the arts and humanities. Be involved–it does make a difference. This all goes with news of the myriad of cuts happening at state and local agencies across the country, and abroad.

All of this comes hard on the heels of the Americans for the Art’s release of their first annual Arts Index report. As stated by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) “The National Arts Index is an annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. The Index score for 2009 is 97.7, down 3.6 percentage points from 101.3 in 2008. A score of 103.9 would bring the Index back to its highest point.”


This is the lowest point for the Arts Index in twelve years. The Index is based on 81 indicators. Read a snapshot of the index here, and download and read the full report here.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts about where we as a community will go from here. Do you have a bold vision for our community? Why has the Index dropped? What can we do together to strengthen the cultural community? If you’d like to address the community, send me an email, and we’ll publish your response in next week’s newsletter.

Until next week,



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