A five-year plan prepared by the National Endowment for the Arts forecasts that the agency will need to double its annual budget, from $149.5 million to $300 million, by fiscal year 1984.
Most of the projected increase would occur in fiscal years 1983 and 1984. According to the plan, "The administration's commitment to a balanced budget will probably mean a somewhat slower rate of growth during the first part of the period covered by the plan. However, by fiscal year 1982 it is anticipated that the nation's economic health will be such that it can sustain larger increases during the latter part of the plan period."
The 150-page document will be submitted to the National Council on the Arts, the Nendowment's chief advisory body, for its approval when the Council meets on May 11-12. It was drafted by Endowment staff members Philip Kadis and Ellen Piercer, assisted by Council members Jerome Robbins, Gunther Schuller, Theodore Bikel, J.C. Dickinson, Maureen Dees and other Endowment staff members.
The budget would rise to $154.4 million next year, to $170 million in 1981, to $200 million in 1982, to $250 million in 1983 and to $300 million in 1984, according to the plan. The estimates are based on current costs, with no adjustments for inflation.
Emphasis is on "the broadening of access" to the arts. "Although there will always be preeminent centers of the arts, such as New York City, they are likely to become less exclusively so," according to the report.
Individual artists would receive increased support through fellowships, professional training and service organizations.
But the plan is more circumspect on the subject of arts institutions. "The Endowment will sharpen its focus" of institutional support, the report states, stressing "an achievement orientation . . . both in terms of artistic excellence and managerial expertise." The plan would remove budget size as an eligibility criterion for applicants.
The Endowment's challenge-grant program which requires recipients to match grants on a 3-1 basis within three years, is scheduled for a slight cut in the fiscal year 1980 budget, but the five-year plan would restore the program to the current $30-million level in fiscal year 1981 and keep it at that level through fiscal year 1984.
Midway through the five-year period, winners of previous challenge grants would be allowed to apply again, provided they meet a possibly more stringent set of standards.
Institutions that have won challenge grants are currently unable to apply a second time.
The plan also proposes expanded Endowment efforts in the design arts and in media programming "which presents the various art forms on film, television or radio to a large audience." It urges wider cooperation among the Endowment's individual programs and between the Endowment and other government arts programs.
The Endowment received approximately 19,000 grant applications in 1978, according to the plan, and, "This number will increase dramatically with the broadening of fiscal eligibilty and as additional areas of funding support included in the plan are implemented." Costs of on-site visits to applicants will increase.
But the Endowment plan does not propose doubling its administrative expenses from the current $9.8 million. Administrative expenses in fiscal year 1984 are projected at $15 million, based on current costs.