Nutter makes plea for more arts money

PHILADELPHIA. Mayor Michael Nutter joined with actor Jeff Daniels yesterday to emphasize to Congress the importance of arts in linking neighbors and strengthening communities.

“The mayor followed through on his campaign promise to restart the Arts Office, which had been closed for several years and he significantly increased the budget for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund even in this economic crunch,” Gary Steuer, the city’s chief cultural officer, said of the reasons Congress invited Nutter to speak.

The Cultural Fund, which annually provides local grants to city arts organizations, increased from $2.2 million in Nutter’s first year to $3.2 million this year.

Nutter’s testimony was part of a Congressional budget hearing on the proposed $180 million in federal funding for the National Endowment of the Arts in the 2011 budget.

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the NEA, urged the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior to continue its support of the arts. Landesman called the NEA’s proposed $161.3 million budget “pathetic” last summer, but he wasn’t as negative yesterday, according to Variety.com.

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