Because The Post now seems convinced that the best way to save the National Endowment for the Arts is to implement substantive structural changes, I again invite its editors to review the Republican proposal to do just that.

To the extent The Post weighs in on this volatile issue, I can go so far as to feel vindicated by its latest editorial {"Unnecessary Arts Deadlock," Aug. 12}. Where The Post earlier referred to legislation offered by me and Rep. Tom Coleman (R-Mo.) to restructure the agency as based on "ignorance" and "radical" {"Cool Off on the Arts," June 10}, the paper now seems to endorse our efforts.

The Post's latest editorial points out that the president's commission on the NEA and other "thoughtful people" have made several recommendations to strengthen the agency's protections against funding objectionable art. Among the suggestions, as summarized by The Post: "Increase the role of the umbrella council . . . over the panels"; "require the panels to be constituted differently from the excessively specialized, back-scratching setup that now exists, and more like those of the more tightly run and less controversial National Endowment for the Humanities; and ". . . force the council to alter its current rubber-stamp stance." The Post will be pleased to know our legislation included each of these provisions, even before these "thoughtful people" came to the same conclusions.

The most reasoned approach to reauthorizing the NEA requires more than simply imposing content restrictions. As The Post stated in its latest editorial, "The irony will be if members of Congress, already tied to content restrictions, refuse to broaden their focus to reforms of the NEA that might actually help it." I remain confident that The Post and members of Congress, upon reviewing our comprehensive proposal, will consider it to be thoughtful, constructive and right on target. STEVE GUNDERSON U.S. Representative (R-Wis.) Washington

Regarding the article titled "NEA Chief Offers Funding Standard" {Style, July 31}, does NEA chairman John Frohnmayer understand his job? He thinks that some art may be "too highly confrontational or offensive to be exhibited in public places" and that such art "would not be appropriate for public funding." As an example of such art, he cites "a photograph . . . of Holocaust victims {that} might be inappropriate for display in the entrance of a museum where all would have to confront it, whether they chose to or not." Later in the article he says "the language in the original act creating the endowment instructs the NEA chairman and council to make the arts accessible to the public and to 'encourage public understanding and appreciation of the arts.' "

In order to understand and appreciate and learn from the arts, the public must be able to see and confront the arts -- all the arts, whether "good," "bad," "offensive" or "inoffensive." Mr. Frohnmayer's example of a photograph of Holocaust victims is particularly inappropriate, and to me offensive. Horror and ugliness, as well as beauty, should be confronted and understood. What might have happened 45 years ago if the public had not been allowed to see photographs of Holocaust victims because some small-minded bureaucrat found them "offensive" or "inappropriate"?

Who is to make the decision as to what is acceptable? I would rather see the NEA abolished entirely than set itself, or any other person or agency, up as arbiter of taste, aesthetics or morals. We know what "acceptable" and government-approved art from Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union looks like. Would any of us consider it "great" or even "good" art today? Even John Frohnmayer should be able to answer this question and learn from its example. KATHLEEN J. NORVELL Takoma Park