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The Santa Fe Opera Supports the NEA

By Charles MacKay


The Santa Fe Opera Supports the NEA

Dear Friends of The Santa Fe Opera,

Now that we know for certain that the Trump Administration’s budget blueprint proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a consistently bipartisan supported arts and culture agency, please join me in supporting a budget of $155 million for the NEA in the FY 2018 Interior Appropriations Bill to preserve citizen access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

Support from the NEA is absolutely vital to developing and promoting opera as cultural expression in the 21st century.  Over the past 30 years, the NEA has provided over $4 million in funding for our new and seldom-seen operatic works. In the past decade alone, the NEA has supported five World Premieres in Santa Fe, all of which were written by American composers; two American Premieres, including one by an American; and three Company Premieres of rarely-performed works, including one by an American composer, all in a concerted effort to cultivate an authentic American operatic voice to accurately reflect the stories of our time.

Apart from the artistic value and merit of these projects, these new and unusual works have been a huge draw for opera lovers from all 50 states and 30 foreign countries. Every year, 45% of visitors are new to the Opera – a clear indication that a huge portion of our audience is comprised of tourists. These federal dollars from the NEA have tremendous value and allow us to showcase important works of art, making them more accessible to a broader audience.  This summer, our world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by American composer, Mason Bates, offers tourists another compelling reason to visit our state and increase the Opera’s annual economic impact, which, in total, is easily $202 million. None of this would be possible without the support of the NEA.

We’re joining OPERA America and the Performing Arts Alliance in a call to take action now. Here are three easy ways to get involved:

  1. Read OPERA America’s NEA issue brief.
  2. Please contact your members of Congress, and tell them why continued support for the NEA is critical to your nation, local community, and The Santa Fe Opera by submitting a pre-written letter that you can easily update and automatically send to your respective Congressional delegation members.
  3. Inform OPERA America of any specific actions impacting the arts in your community. Please send an e-mail to Brandon Gryde at

Charles MacKay
General Director