According to yesterday's Times, here are the key House supporters who kept those Arts provisions in the final stimulus bill:
- Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, co-chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus
- Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Washington, chairs subcommittee overseeing the NEA
- Representative David R. Obey, D-WI, chairs House Appropriations Committe.
And, yes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Even if it did take some last minute lobbying from an uber Hollywood Liberal:
One would be hard pressed to argue that a call from Robert Redford to the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, helped salvage money for the arts in the economic-stimulus bill last week. But it certainly didn’t hurt as arts-friendly members of the House and Senate struggled to preserve $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the final version of the recovery package, approved by both houses on Friday.
In his conversation last week with Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, Mr. Redford said, he drew on his film experience to argue for the arts as an economic engine. “Ticket takers or electricians or actors — all the people connected with the arts are at risk just like everybody else is,” he said in an interview. He said he also reminded Ms. Pelosi that his Sundance Film Festival brings more than $60 million to Park City, Utah, each year.
Well, Ye Olde Regional Theatre Playhouse can't quite compete with that. But, hey, rising tide, lifting boats...let's hope it trickles down. Nudge, nudge.
PS. To the list also add Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, who will actually hold hearings this Spring, calling actual artists and arts experts to testify as to the "usefulness" of the arts to our fiscal and educational health.
Perhaps Rep. Miller will draw upon his experience directing The Road Warrior?