CETA Artists Employment • Nationally 1974-81
I think the CETA program was great! One should be critical about how government money has been spent on art . . .
CETA really did work. -- Barbara Rose (Quarterly Review, January 1982)
Nationally, more than 10,000 artists were employed over seven years, in cities such as San Francisco and Chicago and in
smaller towns as well. Collectively, CETA - through its Title VI program - funded the largest federal arts employment effort
since the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of 1933-42.
The federal CETA program, signed into law in December, 1973, by Richard Nixon, expanded rapidly in the face of stubborn
unemployment in the U.S. Following the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, it reached a peak budget of $12 billion.
The first use of CETA funds to hire artists took place in San Francisco in 1974. CETA became more broad-based with the
addition of its "Title VI" category (designed for "cyclically unemployed" professionals) and artists were hired in many cities.
Besides the 10,000 artists hired to work in community settings, it is estimated that an additional 10,000 arts support staff
such as administrators, curators, theatre technicians, museum guards and docents were hired with CETA funds.