Milwaukee Art Museum Statement on the Proposed Elimination of NEA

Milwaukee Art Museum Statement on the Proposed Elimination of NEA:

As an agent of the public trust, the Milwaukee Art Museum joins the outcry across the country against the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and similar agencies.

For the Milwaukee Art Museum, NEA funding has been critical in propelling the Museum’s mission to collect and preserve art and present it to the community as a vital source of inspiration and education. In 1992, the Museum received an NEA Challenge Grant for $750,000 that was matched to build a $1.5 million endowment at the Museum. The Museum draws 5 percent ($80,000) from this endowment every year. NEA grants supported the exhibitions American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts, 1790–1840 and Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography, 1940–1959, among others, as well as the acquisition of nearly 200 works for the Museum’s Collection, including gifts from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection.

The NEA has further provided the Museum with indemnity agreements, which help offset the high cost of insuring art exhibitions. These agreements have allowed us to share significant bodies of work by artists Wassily Kandinsky, Andy Warhol, Jan Lievens, and Rembrandt with our visitors—affording many from throughout Wisconsin and the region with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 states, “It is vital to democracy to honor and preserve its multicultural artistic heritage as well as support new ideas, and therefore it is essential to provide financial assistance to its artists and the organizations that support their work.” We share in that belief and ask that you join us in standing strong against the proposed cuts to these agencies.  

Please, get involved:

Read the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965.

Learn about effective advocacy from the American Alliance of Museums.

Send a message to your congressional representatives, urging them to protect the funding of the NEA and NEH.

The Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum Board of Trustees

About the NEA
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

About the Milwaukee Art Museum
Home to a rich collection of over 30,000 works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen–designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahler-designed addition. The Museum recently reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting nearly 2,500 world-class works of art within dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition.

Leave a Reply