The Importance of the NEA and NEH to Colorado
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are independent federal agencies that were established in 1965 in response to a need for Americans across the geographic and political spectrum to have access to the arts and humanities. The arts and humanities or seen by many as classic indicators of democratic health and vibrancy. NEA and NEH are miniscule line items in the nation’s overall spending- 0.065% of the $3.9 Trillion dollar US budget, but provide a big impact to local communities, including across Colorado. The National Endowment for the Humanities reports that in just the four years between 2008 and 2012, Colorado institutions received $7.7 million in grants (find their report here: https://www.neh.gov/files/talking_point/colorado.pdf). Likewise, Colorado has received important support from the National Endowment for Arts, which should come as no surprise as Coloradans love their arts. A 2015 NEA study shows that Colorado ranks number 1 in the nation for per-capita visits to cultural institutions (http://www.denvercenter.org/blog-posts/news-center/2015/01/27/nea-colorado-ranks-no-1-in-performing-arts-visits).
In just the last five years the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and History Colorado, two of the largest institutions charged with investigating and protecting archaeological resources in the state, as well as educating the public of all ages about our rich archaeological past, have received over $1.2 million from NEA and NEH, focused on the preservation of objects and documents as well as educational programming for Colorado’s kids. Taking a longer view, History Colorado alone has received nearly $2 million in funding from these two sources over the last 3 decades. Likewise, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center credits the NEH Endowment Challenge grant which helped to raise over $2 million in non-federal contributions with the long term health and success of their organization. Please read their full statement below.
Understanding, studying, protecting, and sharing our cultural heritage takes many willing partners, including federal granting agencies. It would be detrimental for the citizens of Colorado to lose such important sources of support for the arts, sciences, and humanities with the loss of the NEA and NEH.
The National Endowment for the Humanities Support of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Crow Canyon was the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grants that enabled the non-profit research and education organization to fund their fledgling endowment. One of these NEH Challenge Grants ended in 2004, and helped raise over $2 million in nonfederal contributions Crow Canyon’s endowment. The purpose of the NEH endowment grant was to develop humanities content that would be published on Crow Canyon’s website and serve as distance learning materials. The earnings from these endowments made possible the support of salary and benefits for the distance learning team to develop and post the humanities content. Furthermore, these NEH Challenge Grants stimulated Crow Canyon donors to become even more active in supporting the fundraising effort.
Additionally, since 2003 Crow Canyon has worked with the NEH to support their summer teacher training workshops. NEH grants awarded to Crow Canyon to develop and deliver eleven programs, both Summer Institutes and Landmarks Workshops, have brought over 425 teachers to Crow Canyon. These teachers have a unique opportunity to learn about archaeology and Pueblo history, and bring those experiences back to their classrooms around the country.
Crow Canyon staff believes that the role played by the National Endowment for the Humanities is critical to ensuring that students of all ages receive balanced, well-rounded educational experiences that bring the arts, the sciences, and the humanities together. An understanding and appreciation for all of these disciplines is essential to the understanding any one of them. We see archaeology as the intersection of the sciences and humanities, and as such, a gateway discipline for a wide range of learning opportunities. Americans should be proud of the work of the NEH that strengthens teaching, facilitates research, preserves access to cultural resources, and provides opportunities for lifelong learning. The federal government must continue to fund the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Between 2008-2012, Colorado Institutions received $7.7million from NEH
- Over the last 5 years DMNS alone has received $652,298 from NEH
- History Colorado has received nearly $2million from NEA and NEH combined over the last 30 years
- Crow Canyon received two NEH challenge grants that allowed the organization to raise $2million endowment fund
- NEH and NEA grants have allowed History Colorado, DMNS, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and other institutions to bring important educational opportunities to the children of Colorado and their parents.