Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

February 14, 2011
Obama seeking to cut NEA budget by $21 million


Today, the Obama Administration released its FY 2012 budget request to Congress and it calls for a $21 million funding decrease for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

If approved, the NEA's $167.5 million budget will be trimmed to $146 million. The NEA is the largest grantmaker to arts organizations in the nation.

The NEA, curently led by Broadway theater producer Rocco Landesman (pictured, right), had seen steady funding increases since 2004.

Some in Congress are calling for even deeper cuts. One is Rep. Jim Jordan who leads the House Republican Study Committee. Jordan has expressed a desire to eliminate the NEA budget altogether.

That move mirrors an unrealized 1994 effort by then House Speaker Newt Gingrich who called for the elimination of the NEA, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Regardless of the outcome, the focus and scope of the NEA is changing, especially under Landesman, who is forging first-ever partnerships with other federal entities like the Department of Transportation.

Not only does Landesman want to the agency to become less insular, he believes the number of arts offerings now outmatch the size of the audience willing to see them.

That much became clear in a recent Washington Post story which quoted Landesman about audience attendance figures.

In that story, Landesman was asked about plunging audience figures, wherein he responded "there are too many theaters."

The number of arts nonprofits has been growing steadily since 2007, but audiences have not, as cited by a 2008 NEA survey of public participation in the arts.

That survey established a 5 percent drop, from 2002, in the number of adults visiting art museums or attending live performances.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives