I received notice of these awards because I'm a member of the Arts Action Fund, which lobbied hard in Washington DC for government spending on the arts. (I donated $50 to this organization.) Here's the message that AAF sent to me:
We wanted you to be the first to know that today the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced direct grants to 631 nonprofit arts groups, totaling $29.775 million as part of the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These direct grants are in addition to the 63 state and regional sub-grants previously awarded in April, totaling $19.8 million. Both of these funds are part of a $50 million federal stimulus package being allocated by the NEA in support of job recovery programs for nonprofit and local and state public arts agencies.
It was your tireless work during our “Arts=Jobs” campaign that made these grants possible. More than 100,000 arts advocates and local, state, and national partners sent more than 85,000 messages to their members of Congress encouraging them to include funding for the arts in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. An additional 15,500 letters and blog entries were written and sent by advocates to local and online media in order to educate the general public about the very real role of the arts in the economy and what’s at risk.
“In just five short months since the passage of the economic recovery bill, the NEA enacted a plan that quickly and efficiently distributed $50 million to reach arts organizations in every corner of America. Many jobs will be saved and arts programs continued as a result of these much-needed funds. The tireless advocacy efforts of our nation’s arts community has truly paid off,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.