At Wednesday’s appropriation hearing on the National Endowment for the Arts, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) questioned why the agency supported San Francisco mimes and an international accordion festival.

Rocco Landesman, the chair of the National Endownment for the Arts (Marcus Yam/THE WASHINGTON POST)

NEA chairman Rocco Landesman received some support from the subcommittee chairman Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.).

After the hearing, a NEA spokesperson said “Chairman Landesman spoke about the San Francisco Mime Troupe as a world renowned theater organization that makes important contributions to the American theater. He also said it was exactly the kind of organization whose future should not depend solely on the marketplace and is deserving of private and public subsidy.”

The White House has requested $146.2 million for the arts agency for fiscal 2012.