Fun_People Archive
12 Jan

Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 15:27:51 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People

Forwarded-by: lanih@info.Berkeley.EDU (J. Lani Herrmann)
Forwarded-by: Deane L Root <>
From: Lisa Crawford <>

 On Sunday (January 8) a small group of local visual and performing arts
supporters in the Greater Cleveland area met to discuss the NEA/NEH funding
crisis.  We realized that although the grass-roots effort currently going on
(much of it described in messages to this list!) is important and necessary,
what is lacking is some kind of newsworthy event which could serve as a
platform for media coverage: news articles, broadcasts, etc. Particularly in
the case of the  NEA,  much news coverage has revolved around controversial
projects funded by the agency. This needs to be counteracted somehow in the
mainstream media by presenting all of the positive things there are to say
about these Endowments.  

After some discussion about what might be "newsworthy" (self-immolation?) it
was decided to designate January 20 a day of voluntary fasting as a public
statement in support of the NEA and NEH (HUNGRY FOR THE ARTS DAY).   We chose
the date because the hearings in Congress to discuss reauthorization of the
national endowments may begin as early as January 24.  Individual arts
organizations in Northeastern Ohio will be encouraging their audiences to
register for the fast day, collecting  signed cards of those registering, and
sending them in large numbers (we hope!) to appropriate members of Congress. 
Meanwhile the event will be publicized through the media in Cleveland (the
Plain Dealer, various radio stations).  

Although we decided against trying to organize a national event in such a
short time, we hope that a ripple effect - or even better, a national
groundswell - will take place through these Internet mailing lists. 
Obviously, the bigger the event, the more newsworthy it becomes, and the
faster we all organize it, the better the publicity will be.  We hope that
you will inform your local arts organizations about it as soon as possible! 
FYI, the following is a brief information kit about exactly how we are
organizing the fast in Northeast Ohio,  which you might distribute to people
you know who might want to follow suit.  In addition, if you are on other
mailing lists we would appreciate it if you would forward this message to
them as well.  


We are having cards made up which read:

		I'm Hungry for the Arts!  Register me for the fast on January 20,
		1995 in support of continued funding for the National 
		Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

		Printed Name________________________

Copies of these cards will be placed in concert/theater/dance programs to be
collected and tallied.  Sign-up rosters will appear in galleries, common
areas of colleges and universities, and other places where the arts happen. 
At the top of these rosters will be a this statement:

	I want to show my support for art and culture in this country by
participating in HUNGRY FOR THE ARTS  day.  Register me for the fast on
January 20, 1995 in support of continued funding for the National Endowments
for the Arts and Humanities.

	Each organization that participates will tally the signatures and send the
signed cards and rosters to legislators from their area and to the
committeepersons con nected with the Budget and Reallocation process in
Congress where the fate of the NEA and the NEH will be reviewed in the next
100 days.  In Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Cultural Coalition has agreed to
do the tallying and forwarding if individual organizations send them the
cards and rosters by January 23, 1995. 

It is crucial to bear in mind that this event has a double purpose.  Besides
generating the signatures which will be forwarded to the Congress,  it will
also serve as an attention-getter.  Much depends on what we do when we get
the attention.  It is possible that news reporters will come knocking on your
door to ask about HUNGRY FOR THE ARTS day.  If they do, we recommend that you
have ready a list of the points you would like to see in print about the
NEH/NEA,  the ones that will make the general public aware of how much they
benefit from these organizations.  Some examples:
	- the thousands of children who see the Nutcracker each year
	- the host of local arts organizations who receive funding from state 
arts councils whose seed money would disappear along with the NEA
 	- documentation of our own American history and culture 

etc., etc. We're sure you can supply many more of your own. Other points to
make might be those of relative cost and effective investment.  Robert Finn
(retired music critic on the Plain Dealer) remembers an occasion when Beverly
Sills testified in Congress on behalf of the NEA.  He recalls that she said
something like "Cut one foot off that three hundred foot submarine you are
planning to build and it will support the entire NEA for the next few years!"
The other argument is that since NEA funding, in the forms of seed money and
challenge grants, has been tremendously effective in attracting big bucks for
the arts , it is a proven investment with large returns.  

We hope this will galvanize you into action - or into further action, if you
have already been writing letters and sending telegrams and e-mail. Please
forward this message to other mailing lists which you consider appropriate. 
We are curious to find out how effective the Internet might be in generating
this kind of political activity.  If you decide to get on the HUNGRY FOR THE
ARTS  bandwagon, or something similar, please let us know! We would also like
to know the results after the event occurs.  The use of the Internet for
political action may in itself make a newsworthy story for some national

Lisa Crawford
Richard King

Oberlin College Conservatory of Music

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []