I think some in our arts world may underestimate the importance of the NEA's 50 million dollar budget increase.
Yes, it's a relatively small amount of money . . . but I think it was a significant victory for the arts as a political community.
Look back at the situation, a legislator added the 50 million and it was promptly cut.
In previous years that would have been the end of it. Maybe a politician would have put up some mild resistance to the cut, but it probably would have not led to much.
But this time, something pretty cool happened.
Advocacy kicked in.
It's the sort of people powered, technology aided, action that wouldn't have really been possible just a few years back.
And it's pretty clear those actions had a measurable impact on the ultimate outcome.
For the arts to be fully integrated in American life, it has to win things like the NEA battle.
So when Pres. Obama signs the stimulus bill into law today, consider it a hard fought victory.