The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts has asked Congress for $150 million to support the agency next year – a $52 million increase over this year’s budget, the Associated Press reports.
Citing a study that showed juvenile crime triples after school when idle teens lack adult supervision, Bill Ivey asked lawmakers to allocate $49 million to support Challenge America, an after-school arts program for young people.
Congress turned down requests last year to fund Challenge America.
Under attack from Congress members who said its art projects are obscene and blasphemous, the NEA budget has declined 59 percent since 1992.
An effort to abolish the agency altogether was thwarted by a bipartisan show of support.
Ivey said that NEA projects last year reached more than 5 million children, supported about 7,500 concerts and performances, and benefited 4,000 locations, AP reports.