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Public Statements

Issue Position: Arts and Humanities

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I value the contributions the arts have made to communities across our country. In March, I was pleased to present $37,000 in scholarships to the top winners of the 13th District's Sixth Annual Congressional High School Art Competition. Each year, I continue to be amazed at the artistic talents of the students in my district. The pieces on display at this year's competition were extraordinary. In recognition of the artists, musicians, archivists and historians, I remain committed to funding for the arts and humanities for my constituents.

Arts

I have sent a letter to the Interior Appropriations subcommittee requesting $176 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in FY 09. The President's budget sought only $128.4 million, a $16 million decrease from FY 08. Over the past several years, Spivey Hall at Clayton State University has had an active music performance community. Spivey continues to hold concerts and support music education to youth in the metro area because of the funding provided by the NEA. Last year, Spivey was able to hold a woodwind artist-in-residency, featuring a free recital for over 700 children and adults. They would not have been able to put on this program without the support of NEA and the Arts in Education program. In fact, students who take regular arts courses are shown to score an average of 90 to 100 points better on their SATs. They are also more likely to have a better school attendance record, greater participation in community service and higher self-esteem than their peers are. At-risk teens who participate in arts programs are less likely to continue having disciplinary problems. For all of these reasons, in addition to increased funding for the NEA, I also strongly support the Arts in Education program and recently sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting $53 million for the Arts in Education program for FY 09.

Humanities

I also strongly support increasing funding to the $177 million level for the National Endowment for the Humanities as its funding benefits a number of Atlanta-based humanities and preservation programs, as well as the Georgia Humanities Council. Last year, the Georgia Humanities Council funded projects all over our district, including an oral history project at the Marietta Aviation Museum, and a Shakespeare workshop at Clayton State University. Through the support of outside partners, this funding is leveraged by almost four times the federal amount.

I also support increased funding for programs funded by the Education for Democracy Act (EDA), requesting $35 million FY 09. EDA funds a number of very important education programs including "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution," Project Citizen, School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program, and the Cooperative Education Exchange Programs. In Georgia, for example, Project Citizen is supported by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, which trains teachers who wish to implement the civics program to students in grades 5-12 in the state.

Additionally, I have sent a letter requesting $5 million to support the National History Day (NHD) program. In Georgia, 5,000 students participate in NHD activities, including 10 regional contests and 1 state contest. The Georgia Humanities Council will organize the state event at Macon State College in late April to select a team to qualify at the national level in June.


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