« PreviousContinue »
I also, by the way, don't want to make this an arts versus defense argument. Are we going to argue that because a drill sergeant committed rapes or there are airplane parts on the ground in St. Louis of an airplane that never got built that we put tens of, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars into it, we should do something about cutting the military? I don't think so. I think we have one of the finest military establishments in the world, and we should keep it that way.
And there have been some mistakes in the arts programs. I hope everybody would face up to that. And I think you have to some degree. I think we're trying to make changes, and there should be changes.
And, frankly, I don't appreciate that either, even though I'm a supporter of the arts. It's just as wrong for the federal government to be putting any dollars into anything, which is going to end up being something which is going to be truly offensive to a majority of people. I guess something will offend anybody sometime, but when it starts to be as offensive as the Mapplethorpe works, et cetera, that's a problem.
By the way, speaking of that, that John Doolittle's poem-it wasn't his poem, I don't think, but the poem
that he exhibited, the name of which I don't remember, the one-word poem, “Lithit" or whatever the heck it was, my understanding is that that was in 1969. Is that correct?
Ms. Alexander. 1968.
Mr. Castle. 1968? Pursuant to a subgrant, which no longer could be granted now. I mean, I just want to make sure we're putting the argument in context. I mean, we could argue we could have arts versus, for instance, crop subsidies, which are questionable, especially tobacco crop subsidies, for example, or ethanol. There is all kinds of spending which I think is a lot more marginal to either the arts or the military spending in this country.
So the question comes down I think to management. Frankly, I was not happy with finding out from the Chairman's good questioning about the person assigned to the White House, not to get on the White House, but this business of detailing valuable people to the White House is something I don't like. And you don't have to even comment on that. I just don't like it. I mean, I just think they should run their own business and run it more efficiently or whatever, as should any Executive Branch of government.
Having said all of that, I think it's a little bit unfair in some ways to fault your agency for all of the cost issues. And I think we need to go through that. I mean, this agency has gone through tremendous reductions in personnel, has it not? I think you've said some 49 percent in the last couple of years.
Ms. Alexander. Forty-five percent, yes.
Mr. Castle. And you're limited to some degree by the government rules on who can be allowed to go, which order you allow people to go in. You also have had a great reduction in the amount of money, some $170 million to $100 million. And so you're taking a cost structure from before and bringing it down to where we are now,
Ms. Alexander. That's correct.
Mr. Castle. -which I think is a factor as well. And I think we need to all understand that and not be dismissive of the arts agencies because of that particular issue.
But I'd like to ask you some questions about where some of this goes because I think that's really at the heart of the matter because there's this sort of concern that it goes to certain artists, whatever it may be. These grant distributions-you had a chart up there earlier showing how it is spread.
My understanding is that the real usage of the grants for the arts basically goes throughout our communities. In other words, it may go to a state, but then the states will make distributions out to various communities.
I know in Delaware, for example, where you've been several times-and we appreciate that. In Delaware, we distribute to dozens, I think hundreds of agencies on an annual basis throughout a tiny, 3-county state of, but very proud, 720,000 people.
And I remember going to a movie about the artist Jack Lewis in Bridgeville, Delaware, one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Seven hundred people I never saw showed up for that movie that night. And they had a second showing in this small town, a wonderful town, tremendous pride in this, partially funded, as I understand it, by what you all did.
Can you give me some assurance that that is true throughout the country, that money is being disbursed in that way throughout the country as far as arts grants from the United States are concerned, indirectly, if not directly, through states arts councils?
Ms. Alexander. Absolutely. That's what we strive for anyway to make sure that there is access as well. And that means that we have to think of our mission, which is twofold, to foster the excellence, the diversity, and the vitality of the arts in the United States, but also to expand public appreciation and access. So that's always the second part of our mission, and we look to how that can be served in communities everywhere.
Mr. Castle. We have in Delaware a visiting scholars' program that brings the University of Delaware professors into last year I think 137 Delaware classrooms to talk to some 60,000 children about the presidents and that kind of thing. I am very interested in making sure that we present properly to the children and we serve the poor; that is, museums are open to the poor, classes are open to the poor.
Can you tell me in the brief time we have left about the work and the service that is being provided for the children of this country and the poor through the work that you're doing in the National Endowment for the Arts?
Ms. Alexander. A great many of our grants today are made in areas like education and access, one of our four divisions, that directly affects multitudes of children and people who need to have access to the arts. And that means they may have to have discount tickets or pre-performances.
And so we might make a grant to the Houston Opera, for example, as we did this year, for programs for children, for teachers, for access to the Houston Opera. And this is going on in all areas of our agency at this time.
Mr. Castle. Thank you, Ms. Alexander. I appreciate it.
And I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. Ms. Mink?
Mrs. Mink. Thank you very much. Ms. Alexander, I want to add my strong words of commendation for the leadership that you have provided this beleaguered agency. And I want to apologize to you and to the American people that you have had to endure this tremendous cutback in your personnel and cutbacks in funding and really a
shredding of the overall purposes and ideals that we set forth when we created this endowment many years ago.
But you've stood the ground, and you've put the agency, in accord with the wishes of the Congress, as specified, in the various appropriations measures. And I want to say how much I appreciate the commitment that you have provided and the leadership that you have given and you have shown. I hope that you will continue to endure and support this agency because your leadership is mightily needed.
Now, some of the questions that have been put, I don't know if they have been fully answered. And I think they should be, for the record. One of the members of Congress testified that fully 30 percent of the funding went to 6 metropolitan areas. Could you amplify on that and explain why that appears to be true, if it is true, in looking at the audit of your year's expenditures?
Ms. Alexander. Thank you. I'd be glad to. The six cities in question are: New York City, District of Columbia, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston, all cities with a long track record, if you will, in the arts and arts organizations and artists who live there. The bulk of our applications comes from these areas and from these states.
What you may not know is that fully one-third of all the money that goes to these states then is disseminated out in national impact in one way or another. For example, most of our broadcast and production for film would come from those cities as well so that Public Television programs, everything from "American Masters” to “Great Performances” to “Dance in America,” will come out of the New York City grant but be disseminated through broadcast to all of the affiliates all across the country, the same with National Public Radio, which is situated in Washington, D.C., and so on, not to mention touring.
And also let us not forget that many tourists that go to these cities visit the great museums, the great performing companies in the cities. And they benefit in that way as well as well as many artists coming from all over America to these cities to learn and train.
But the important thing to remember is fully one-third of the money that goes to these cities is then disseminated out throughout America.
Mrs. Mink. Thank you.
I have one further question, which was put to you I believe by the Chair of the Oversight Subcommittee, and that goes to the downsizing of the program by 45 percent you testified. Is that 45 percent downsizing all within one year or does that include the 2-year downsizing that you experienced?
Ms. Alexander. One year.
Mrs. Mink. All in one year?
Ms. Alexander. Forty-five percent staff cut.
Mrs. Mink. So, then, when you cut the staff, what is the residual expense to the agency because you have to provide severance pay or continue the benefits that the severed employee is entitled to? How much of the agency's obligations were reflected in that continued expense, even though the employee was no longer in the service of the agency?
Ms. Alexander. $2.5 million.
Mrs. Mink. Was a carryover expense?
Ms. Alexander. One time. And that's why our administrative budget for the most part went up last year.
Mrs. Mink. So the percent of expenditure which is described as administrative included that downsizing expense which the Congress required you to do?
Ms. Alexander. That's correct.
Mrs. Mink. Now, the third issue was the detailing to the White House. Do you have any materials or reports that would indicate what prior administrations did with respect to detailees from the agency over to the White House; in specific, the administrations of President Bush?
Ms. Alexander. I will provide that for the record, if I may.
Mrs. Mink. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Alexander. I might add I think that it's not uncommon for members of Congress to have detailees from other federal agencies.
Mrs. Mink. We'll take that under advisement.
Mr. Hoekstra. Sounds good to me. Mr. Riggs?
Mr. Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Madam Chairman, thank you very much for being here. We do appreciate your testimony and your availability to the joint Subcommittees.
You and others have testified here and in earlier appearances before Congress on the link between musical education and dramatically improved scores in math and science. Yet, it's my understanding that the NEA cannot or does not directly support classroom instruction in the arts in primary and secondary schools. Is that correct?
Ms. Alexander. Yes, that's correct. We do it through the State Arts Council, state arts education.
Mr. Riggs. In your testimony, and I quote here, you say that “In the area of education and access, where priority is assigned specifically to arts education and other projects that broaden the arts experience of millions of Americans, we awarded 172 grants totaling $10.8 million.” So that would be $10.8 million out of your current annual appropriation of roughly $99 million?
Ms. Alexander. For education and access, yes.
Mr. Riggs. Do you know how much of that 10.8 million actually again goes to promote arts instruction or awareness of the arts on the part of school-age children?
Ms. Alexander. I can't give you the exact figure, but 21 grants alone to education in the Division of Education and Access went for promotion of arts education in the schools and for school children in the K through 12.
Mr. Riggs. So that would be 21 of the 172 grants?
Ms. Alexander. Yes. And access also involves a lot of education, I may point out.
Mr. Riggs. Yes. And, just as a follow-up to that, as you well know, the voluntary arts goals that were developed by the NEA and the Department of Education in the Goals 2000 explicitly state that exposure is not enough. In fact, we have the pamphlet right here, I believe.
In particular, the goals state-I'll just hold that up since everybody is holding up something today between dollar bills and competing or dueling charts. But in this publication here, it specifically states, “A once-a-month visit from an art specialist, visits to or from professional artists or art courses for the specifically motivated do not qualify as basic or adequate arts instruction. Yet, the main education funding provided by the NEA appears to be just for such exposure.”
Isn't that just a little inconsistent in your view?
Ms. Alexander. No, sir, because we recognize that the educational system in America is controlled by the communities in which the schools find themselves. And they set the standards. They set the curriculum. And we're not trying to dictate to the schools. We're only trying to supplement their activities in arts education and facilitate them.
Mr. Riggs. Then how would your program compare to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act's Arts in Education Program, which taxpayers currently fund to the tune of $9 million annually?
Ms. Alexander. Well, if I may get back to you on the record with that because it's a complex partnership? But what we do is help facilitate arts education in America through the schools and the Department of Education.
Mr. Riggs. Well, your answer would be very important to me. So I will look forward to it, particularly given the fact that your own research seems to show that, again, classroom arts education as a part of the regular curriculum is key, really, to future interests in the arts; that is to say, for a young person developing a lifelong appreciation of and love of the arts.
Other research by the NEA shows that arts instruction is the only area of the arts that is suffering. In other words, it would appear that schools are cutting back in this area. In light of this fact and the fact that music education increases math and science scores, as I mentioned just a moment ago, wouldn't we, the Congress, be better off using your limited funding, the NEA funding, to supports the Arts in Education Program at the