The National Endowment for the Arts distributed $1.4 million in special "stimulus" grants to 37 private nonprofit "arts" organizations located in the city of San Francisco, most of which is represented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, however, had no role at all in determining who would win these grants or whether such grants would be distributed in her city.
The 37 NEA stimulus grants given to San Francisco-based "arts" organizations is more than the total number of NEA stimulus grants handed out to "arts" organizations in any state except New York or California (taken as a whole).
The top 11 states in terms of the number of NEA "stimulus" grants given to locally based private arts organizations were: New York, which received 139 grants worth $5.75 million; California, which received 100 grants worth $4.45 million, Pennsylvania, which received 33 grants worth $1.5 million; Minnesota, which received 27 grants worth $1.05 million; Illinois, which received 24 grants worth $1.03 million; Massachusetts, which received 24 grants worth $1.03 million; Washington, which received 20 grants worth $825,000; Florida, which received 14 grants worth $1.25 million; Ohio, which received 14 grants worth $775,000; and New Jersey, which received 14 grants worth $600,000.
The NEA also handed out 19 "stimulus" grants worth $900,000 to private arts organizations based in Washington, D.C. -- making D.C. a hot spot for government funded "artists," but not nearly as hot as San Francisco.
New Hampshire, which has two congressional districts, got exactly one NEA stimulus grant -- worth $50,000.
The NEA also gave $50,000 stimulus grants to exactly one private arts organization in each of Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware and Kansas. In Wyoming, the NEA gave exactly one private arts organization a $25,000 stimulus grant.
In Puerto Rico, the NEA gave one private art organization a $50,000 stimulus grant.
The winners of these stimulus grants, the NEA says, were chosen by panels of independent experts, who were themselves selected by NEA "discipline directors" who each oversee NEA grant-making in "disciplines" such as "arts education," "dance," "music," "folk and traditional arts," and "film/radio/television."
Neither in San Francisco nor anywhere else did members of Congress have any input on who would receive the grants.
"Grants were awarded on the basis of artistic excellence and artistic merit," says NEA spokeswoman Victoria Hutter. "Political affiliation was not a part of that process at all."