Public support for the arts and culture is always at the top of our agenda, and in the last fortnight the issue has been making headlines for a variety of reasons. It has been a significant month for our friends in the USA, with the Trump Administration submitting on 16 March its first budget request to Congress, which included calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The sector has issued a clear response to demonstrate the value of public support for the arts, including statements by the NEA, the IMLS, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts also presented a series of events for Arts Advocacy Day, including a lecture from Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, on the need to maintain federal investment in the arts and the myth that private sector funding can make up for cuts in federal funding or serve the same role in supporting the arts.
Meanwhile the Canada Council for the Arts has unveiled a new $88.5 million Arts in a Digital World Fund, as part of its recent digital strategy; and in Australia, following changes to the Arts portfolio funding arrangements in 2015, last week the Australia Council for the Arts welcomed a return of funding from the Department of Communications and the Arts, which has also announced that the remit of its economic and statistical research unit has been broadened to encompass the Arts sector.
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