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Mr. Johnson. Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Hoekstra. Yes?

Mr. Johnson. I'd just like to make an observation that the three people who are proponents are all from one state while we have the other states represented on the other side.

Mr. Houghton. Well, we couldn't get anybody from Texas.

Mr. Johnson. I can't understand that. We like cattle out there.

Mr. Hoekstra. All right. We'll move on to the third panel. Thank you very much.

Ms. Slaughter. Congressman Horn also is co-chair.

Sam, you get a good bit of money in your district. I hope that those people have been talking to you a little


Mr. Hoekstra. We'll wait for you to get ready. You've got a lot of materials there. Are you ready?

Ms. Alexander. Yes.

Mr. Hoekstra. Great. Good morning, Ms. Alexander. You are our third panel.

And Ms. Alexander, for those of you who don't know, although I'm sure everybody in the audience here knows, is Chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts.


you for being here, and we're looking forward to your testimony.


Ms. Alexander. Thank you, Congressman and Chairmen both and members of this subcommittee. I am pleased to come before

you this morning and talk about what I personally feel is a remarkable agency, one that was responsible for my own career as an actress and one that continues to be helpful to young artists all over America.

I don't think the Continental Congress could have anticipated that the United States of America would extend from Maine to Alaska, to southern California, to Florida, and Hawaii, as well as the six jurisdictions. And I

think that they could not have anticipated the need for a national endowment for the arts when all of the great paintings, the great museums, the great performances were very often located at that time in the large urban areas.

Today we are fortunate that we can find opera companies all over America, world-class ones, not just in New York City, but in Houston and in Seattle and in Santa Fe, to name just a few, that we can look to world-class ballet companies in Eugene, Oregon and Miami, again in Seattle and so on. The same goes for modern dance. And all kinds of ethnic dances can be found all over America. And those are companies that the endowment continues to support today and made possible in its 32-year history.

Symphony orchestras are found all over America today. They have burgeoned and been created in the past 32 years because the communities desired them, the communities wanted them, the communities applied to the National Endowment for the Arts. They did it then for funding to create and sustain their arts organizations, and they do it today as well.

I have traveled all over the United States of America. I've been to over 200 cities and towns. And I've seen the arts everywhere and what the National Endowment for the Arts has given to Americans everywhere.

The NEA serves millions and millions of people in the United States in many, many ways. Yes, it serves the artists and the arts organizations. And I would like to applaud Mrs. Mink for her recognition that what we are really talking about is a creative nation serving and stimulating a creative nation. That involves all people, the patrons of the arts, who go to see the performances, the exhibitions, read the books, and so on, who go to folk music festivals, attend conferences on the arts, visit museums and so on. Museums are everywhere in the United States today.

The large organizations are not elitist. In fact, they reach out to all of America through broadcasts, through touring, through tourists coming to them. And what we do at the National Endowment for the Arts is help provide access for all citizens.

Fully 25 percent of our money this year you should know has gone to organizations with budgets of less than $250,000. That means we are reaching the small organizations in America, that we are reaching the rural and the under-served.

The arts, I beg to differ, Mr. Chairman, are not a healthy industry. In 1995 alone, 46 percent of theaters and opera companies were in deficit. Thirty-seven percent of symphonies were in deficit. Twenty-two percent of dance companies and museums were in deficit.

If this happened to the aerospace industry, would you say that that was a healthy industry? I don't think so, not to mention the fact that artists in America - yes, they are on the rise, but they are on the rise because the population is on the rise as well. Artists in America are not keeping pace with their background, their education in comparison to professionals in our society. And the lowest on the totem pole would perhaps be female dancers, a full-time occupation, making approximately $15,000 a year. That is not a healthy salary for an artist or for anybody in our society today.

I'd also like to point out, Mr. Chairman, that your figures include the commercial sector when you talk about the rising attendance and the rising monetary value and the fact that they are healthy.

One more thing. It is a falsehood to think that the private sector is not public subsidy as well. Giving to all nonprofits in our society from Catholic charities to your local cultural community organization is tax-deductible, which means that all of us as taxpayers in America pay for this. And that is a good thing because these nonprofits would not exist at all if that were not true, I think.

What the NEA does with its money is spread it more evenly across the country, seeking to reach those who do not have access to private giving in their communities. Art has always been financed by the public sector, always since the pyramids to Michelangelo's “David,” which was funded by the City of Florence in 1501, by the way, a

controversial piece of work back then.

What would be lost if the National Endowment for the Arts is gone? What would be lost is our reach into the smaller areas, the under-served. What would be lost is our reach and our celebration of the diverse ethnicity of America and the many diverse arts groups.

What would be lost would be our many thousands of artists in residence in the schools of America. What would be lost would be the Mayors' Institute on City Design, which has been attended by hundreds and hundreds of mayors in the time of its existence. What would be lost is our federal partnerships with other federal agencies. We have 25 of those today. What would be lost is national touring of dance.

And I would like to bring your attention to 3 grants that tour, just 3 out of the 1,000 that we give this year, which will be going to 40 communities in America: one coming, the Kronos Quartet, a chamber ensemble coming from San Francisco and going across the country there; one from Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Children's Theater in Blue, reaching out more locally and regionally; and, finally, the National Dance Project, emanating from Boston, going right across the United States.

What would be lost would be our leadership initiatives, including our many exciting millennium projects, one of which is a photographic survey of the United States in America at the turn of the century.

What would be lost would be our after-school art programs. What would be lost would be a bringing together of families and community attendance at arts events that we help promote, the arts for the elderly, for the disabled; the economic stimulus that we bring to a community when we give the National Endowment for the Arts imprimatur; the ability to convene, to convene everything from Goals 2000 arts education partnerships, in which we have 140 arts educators and people involved with the school systems of America coming together to get the arts in the curriculum, as Goals 2000 has suggested.

What would be lost would be the nurturing of new talent. Much of that new talent then moves on into the commercial sector, which is the second most important export, the commercial sector of entertainment, that we have in the United States of America.

What would be lost would be the research that we do at the agency, the information, our Web site. What would be lost would be the national awards for excellence in the arts. And they include the National Medal of the Arts; our heritage fellowships, which go to our folk and traditional masters, our jazz masters.

But, most of all, members of the subcommittee, let me say what would be lost would be a sense of national pride. There would be no representative of all that we are as a creative nation here in Washington, D.C. There would be no international presence. We would be, in fact, the only major nation in the world not to be so represented.

And we have a great deal to be proud of as a nation. We should take national pride in our creative nation. And I feel that we should commit as a country to all the diversity, the vitality, and the imagination that the people bring to the arts of America and that the National Endowment for the Arts helps to serve them through this very agency. It is the people's agency, the National Endowment for the Arts.

I would be happy to entertain questions.

[The statement of Ms. Alexander follows:)


Mr. Hoekstra. Good. Thank you.

We're going to go to some members who had not had an opportunity to ask questions of the majority leader. Mr. Scarborough?

Mr. Scarborough. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank you, Ms. Alexander, for coming.

I feel compelled to respond to something that I have not had a chance to respond to. It was mentioned some time back, and it was what the ranking member, Mr. Clay, talked about regarding his $20 and the defense dollar. And I've just got to say that he's saying that we're wasting money, that we should spend the money towards art, instead of defense, because we only have small countries that we're defending against. China comes to mind as a not-so-small country that we're having problems with.

And he said that there was no problem anymore with a Hitler-type person like we had in World War II. Adolf Hitler killed 6 million Jews and many others in his country. Over the past 40 years, this Chinese regime has killed 60 million of their own people, 10 times the amount. So that threat is a threat to humanity that we can't sit back on. It's also a threat to free thought, and it's a threat to art.

How can we even talk about the freedom to develop artistically across this country and across the globe when we have a regime right now that the New York Times reports keeps a dissident in a room with ten people around him just to make sure that he doesn't put pen to paper? So there are some real threats out there still that I have some concerns about, and I know that most Americans do. I thought his argument even gave sophistry a bad name. It was a false choice.

Ms. Alexander, let me ask you a couple of questions. As an artist myself who is a composer of music and who has been a playwright in the past and who considers this job my day job until my big break comes in music or in art, I can tell you I certainly sympathize with those who believe art does play an important role in the development of not only individuals but also in the development of our culture. I am concerned, as many people are concerned, with some of the productions that continue to get funded.

Amo Houghton said earlier that he didn't want anybody telling him what morality was and what morality wasn't. And I can tell you right now I really don't care how Amo Houghton spends his fortune on art inside his own home. That's his business. But what does concem me is when I hear single parents making $20,000 to $25,000 a year


my district coming up and giving me these horrendous examples of movies saying the federal government is funding this movie or that movie or this project or that project regarding S&M practices, lesbianism, and all these other things. That concerns me because they say, "Hey, I don't work all week to have the federal government fund these type programs.”

And while, again, Mr. Houghton certainly has the right to spend his money, I have the right to spend my moncy in any way I choose, obviously we have to lift up a higher standard when we're talking about what taxpayers in our district are funding. And if it's objectionable to them, then they do have a right to raise those objections.

Let me ask you if you could clear it up for me. I've heard about Women Making Movies, which supposedly depicts S&M practices and lesbianism; “Nitrate Kisses," which has some other things that I don't want to even talk about over the microphone. I ask you to talk about if you could understand why those two items would be objectionable.

And also I'd like to ask you if you recognize that this small portion of funding by your agency is causing tremendous problems for your agency. And if this is about funding programs for children, if this is about funding programs for Shakespeare in the park or other things that 90 percent of Americans would support, it would seem to me that you could alleviate a lot of problems facing the NEA in this PR battle by taking a more aggressive approach towards these few programs that are causing such an uproar in my district and across the country. Could you address


Ms. Alexander. I think that the National Endowment for the Arts' record should speak for itself, Congressman, in that what is little known is that out of 112,000 grants that we have made in our 32-year history, only about 45 have caused some problems for people. Now, if you look at the ratio, that's a pretty good success ratio.

Nevertheless, we do recognize that there are problematical grants for a number of people in the United States. I'd like to just address the two you bring up. “Nitrate Kisses” was a grant to an individual film maker that we didn't make but the agency made in the Bush administration made a long before I came in. And Women Make Movies is a highly prestigious organization that we recently funded to distribute a series on Native American women and on women's health issues.

There's a lot of dissemination of misinformation in the press and a lot that is repeated and promulgated about the agency. And I would just like to point out the facts here.

With regard to the other grants to Women Make Movies, two for seasonal support and two for individual film makers, both of which we are not able to award anymore those kinds of grants. Congress prohibited them in 1996.

Mr. Scarborough. Okay. And, Mr. Chairman, because you have a weak gavel, I'm just going to ask one more question.


you find the two examples that I - and I understand. Like I said before, this is a small portion of what you all fund. But do you find the production of those two companies that I brought up personably objectionable or could you understand how a majority of Americans would find those personably objectionable?

Ms. Alexander. I can certainly understand that a majority of Americans could find them objectionable, but I would also like to point out that my personal taste should not be involved here.

These decisions are made by panels. And the panels look very carefully at-they come from all over America, these people. They come from a background of geographic, ethnic, racial diversity and aesthetic diversity. And they judge on the applications that come in.

Sometimes they make mistakes, they're not the best work. But I think, by and large, the record stands for itself. And what we have funded in the United States of America is excellent.

Mr. Scarborough. Thank you.

Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. Mr. Kildec?

Mr. Kildee. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It's hard to add to the very compelling and cogent testimony of Ms. Alexander, but I will say this. As a Latin teacher and as a student of the Greek language, I recognize the role of the Greek and Roman empires in really promoting art. And thank God they did it. It was excellent.

And I've enjoyed also the various art works of Chinese dynasties. And the government there felt there was a role. As a matter of fact, I learned by Greek and Latin in the Roman Catholic seminary. And the papal states, the

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