Thursday, February 25, 2016

On Monday, February 22, the National Association of Counties (NACo) approved an arts resolution at their annual Legislative Conference in Washington. The resolution supports the promotion of the arts and culture in America’s counties, and allows NACo to lobby and advocate for arts-related issues on Capitol Hill. It is evident that NACo is in strong support of increased funding for federal arts organizations.
NACo recognized that many counties, especially rural counties, underutilize the arts and culture as an economic engine to help with job growth, increase economic activity, and enhance revenue collection. The organization became involved with federal funding issues because federal programs—the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Library and Museum Services—support programs that enhance community development, promote cultural planning, stimulate business development, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw significant cultural tourism dollars, and improve the overall quality of life in our cities and towns. The NEA’s “Our Town” initiative in particular annually invests $5 million in grants to 66 counties in 38 states to support arts engagement strategies. 
NACo has a thriving Arts and Culture Commission that is always working to use the arts as a tool to improve communities, and every year they present awards to counties that champion arts and culture and help them to thrive. NACo is currently placing an emphasis on ensuring that more rural counties are being included and gaining better access to the arts.  
For more information about Americans for the Arts’ work with NACo and other partners, please visit our public sector page