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NEA moves to cut funding for arts documentaries; PBS affected

Still from "Change," a cdocumentary on Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei from Art21
Still from "Change," a cdocumentary on Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei from Art21
A scene from "Change," a documentary about Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, from Art21.

The National Endowment for the Arts, a major supporter of PBS shows devoted to the performing arts and independent documentaries, is proposing substantial cuts in their financing. The New York Times has reported that the reductions would strip more than $1 million in federal production aid from PBS shows, which have been hard-pressed for financing in recent years. The money falls under the NEA’s 2012 Arts in Media grant program.

Affected programs include “Great Performances,“American Masters,”  “Independent Lens” and “Art in the Twenty-First Century.”

From the Times report:

“Susan Sollins, executive director of Art21 [producer of “Art in the Twenty-First Century”], said her organization would ‘have to scramble as a result’ of the cuts, noting that other financial backers often take their cues from the NEA in deciding what to support. But she said: ‘I don’t think it’s a fault on the NEA side. I think it’s a fault on the congressional side. The NEA should be funded more amply so it could serve more people.’ “

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