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None of the 21 arts organizations, to my knowledge, were on the August 10 conference call, which was reported as for artists, arts marketers, and producers. So no opportunity to “pressure” there. Americans for the Arts did not even learn about the conference call until we read news reports about it in September. Additionally, artists, except for some writers, are not allowed to get direct grants from the NEA (even though they ought to be); but sorry, no pressure opportunity there either. And the health care statement by the 21 arts groups was begun and finished well before August 10.

The nation’s arts groups have a long history of advocating to presidential administrations and Congress, not the other way around. In December 2007, almost two years ago, Americans for the Arts released a widely publicized policy brief that included items on health care and the arts to all Presidential candidates. And in March 2009 we issued another policy brief on health care and the arts that was drafted in agreement with more than 80 national arts organizations.

Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman did not meet on August 27 or 28. They did meet earlier in August as chronicled in the informal podcast posted on the Americans for the Arts blog. They didn’t discuss health care. Ms. Picket never called about that podcast although our records do show that she called our communications staff to ask how much money we receive from the NEA.

The arts are integrated into all parts of the government and have been for at least the last half-century. They were part of pioneering work with the Department of Education during the Reagan Administration and were part of important work with Department of Defense in the Bush Administration, just to name a few. Americans for the Arts has years of monographs, policy papers, and podcasts available on its website and unless there is the inevitable occasional technology hiccup, as happened last week on its blog, this information is available 24/7 because we want as many people to read and listen as possible.

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