The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is rounding out her two-day visit to Idaho today. Chairman Jane Chu has toured arts facilities in Boise and Twin Falls during her trip, after being invited to Idaho by Congressman Mike Simpson.
Chu says she wanted to see firsthand some of the projects the NEA is helping to fund in the state.
“The NEA has funded a number of projects here in Boise," says Chu, "and also we’re so appreciative of what the Idaho Arts Commission is doing.”
Chairman Chu says it plainly: artistic communities are not luxuries, but necessities. Chu points to national data around arts funding. The NEA, which has been subject to congressional budget cuts, awards grants to individual state organizations. Those include the Idaho Commission on the Arts.
“So if you put your business hat on, that’s a wonderful return on investment: when you know for every dollar you award then seven dollars to nine dollars more participates in that specific project.”
This afternoon, Chu will hear a presentation on a project funded by the NEA on how this works on a local level. Two Boise State professors recently received $15,000 to study the ways in which universities drive arts communities in Boise, Fort Collins, Colo., and Reno, Nev.
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