Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, speaks at the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge, Aug. 15, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, speaks at the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge, Aug. 15, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Empire Live: Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts speaks in Juneau

Live updates from the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Summary: Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said arts have a heavy presence in Alaska and contribute to the state economy. Whether there is an Alaska State Council on the Arts, Carter said the NEA would be able to offer financial support to Alaskan nonprofits.

12:50 p.m.

Carter said states must provide matching funding to receive matching NEA funds, which means Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s veto of all Alaska State Council on the Arts funding could limit Alaska’s ability to receive national funds.

“Without state money, we cannot give money to the state, but we can provide money to 501(c)(3)’s, and obviously we would try to do that,” Carter said.

12:40 p.m.

Carter said she became involved in the arts since her daughter has severe dyslexia, and her background in public relations and politics is atypical of most NEA chairs.

She said she was interested in making education enjoyable and accessible for her daughter, and that led to an arts-integrated school in Washington.

“So many people in the country know the preamble to the Constitution because of ‘School House Rock’” Carter said.

12:35 p.m.

Carter said art has a major presence in Alaska, and that is reflected financially.

“The arts add $1.4 billion to Alaska’s economy, which is pretty significant,” Carter said.

She said 41 percent of Alaskan adults in the past year attended a live music, theater or dance performance, which compares favorably to other states.

“What I love is the love of active participation of Alaskan adults,” Carter said.

She said there is always an argument about private funding v. public funding for art. She said as a former member of a Republican think tank, she understands the recurring question of whether private money can fill in for public funding in providing support for the art.

“The simple answer is no, private dollars cannot replace public dollars,” Carter said. “There is a need for public dollars, there is a need for private dollars, and neither can do it all on by themselves.”

12:30 p.m.

Carter is beginning by talking about the National Endowment for the Arts.

“First and foremost, we’re a grant-making agency,” Carter said.

She said 80 percent of the NEA’s funding goes toward grants and awards. Carter said there is a perception NEA funds the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Lincoln Center in New York and some high-profile events and that’s about it.

She refuted that.

“The truth is one-third of our funding goes to organizations with budgets under $500,000,” Carter said.

12:20 p.m.

During the meeting’s introductions, the postponement of the Golden North Salmon Derby was referenced several times.

[Read about it here]

Ben Brown, who is chairman of the state council on the arts, said he’s enjoyed working with Carter during her time as NEA chairman.

12:15 p.m.

OK, things are now underway. Life Time Achievement and Citizen of the Year 2019 nomination forms are on the tables around the room at the Moose Lodge, where these luncheons are held.

The annual awards will be Oct. 26 at Centennial Hall.

12:10 p.m.

Opening announcements haven’t happened yet. Things seem to be moving a little slowly.


Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, is the speaker at today’s chamber luncheon.

It’s tough to imagine vetoes’ impact on the Alaska State Council on the Arts won’t come up.

[Read about that here]

NEA-supported projects in the capital city are also likely to factor into today’s speech since visits to Sealaksa Heritage Institute and Perseverance Theatre are part of the agenda for Carter’s Juneau visit, according to a press release.

SHI was awarded an Arts Endowment grant this year to support the final phase of architectural drawings for its cultural facilities.

Perseverance Theatre received Arts Endowment support this year for a new play that explores the history of the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska through the story of one young girl.

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