Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee


As a lifelong patron of the arts, I have made it a priority to assist the arts community both locally and nationally throughout my legislative career. The arts play a vital role in our community's economic growth and in providing cultural and educational benefits as well. I am pleased to have received an A+ on the Americans for the Arts Action Fund Congressional Scorecard.

Art in Memphis

I am acutely aware of the role the arts community plays in the Memphis economy, as well as its role in establishing Memphis’s unique atmosphere and culture. Memphis is recognized internationally as a haven and home for established and aspiring artists alike.

A 2012 Creative Industries report released by Americans for the Arts shows that Memphis is home to 1,740 arts-related businesses, and that these businesses employ 8,275 people. These are real jobs that contribute to our local economy and to our local pocketbooks. These jobs help to keep Memphis established as a cornerstone of tourism, which furthers economic development.

As a State Senator I worked to establish the Tennessee license plate “art is…a rainbow” which provides partial funding for the Tennessee Arts Commission.

National Endowment of the Arts

As a long-time supporter of the arts, I strongly oppose any cuts that would negatively impact the NEA’s ability to provide grants and other funding to arts-based businesses in Memphis. I have consistently voted against amendments to the federal budget and appropriation bills which would cut funding to the NEA as well as other organizations and programs that support the arts and jobs.

Art in Classrooms

Throughout my legislative career, I’ve advocated for more arts education, specifically more public arts education.  The arts should not be viewed as an ‘add-on’ to core educational programs but recognized as an integral part of a complete education.

Arts education programs provide various benefits for our youth and the workforce and therefore, it is important to find ways to make sure that arts academic courses receive equal support as math and science courses. I continue to support measures that prepare our future workforce through innovation and creativity in the schools through a well-rounded education.

More on Arts

April 7, 2017 Enewsletters

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March 31, 2017 Enewsletters

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March 16, 2017 Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today released the following statement on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget:

January 19, 2017 Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today released the following statement after reports that President-elect Donald Trump is planning dramatic cuts to several important federal programs.

June 24, 2016 Enewsletters

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October 28, 2015 Press Release

[Washington, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) joined 265 of his Democratic and Republican colleagues in voting for H.R. 1314, the bipartisan budget package, to help avert a fiscal crisis, boost spending caps, protect seniors, and raise the debt ceiling.

October 23, 2015 Enewsletters

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October 22, 2015 Press Release

[Washington, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today attended the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring the a group of men and women from 13 nations, known as the Monuments Men, for the work they did to protect and preserve artistically and culturally important artifacts that the Nazis planned to destroy during World War II. Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Monuments Men Recognition Act (H.R.

September 18, 2015 Enewsletters

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September 14, 2015 Press Release

[MEMPHIS, TN] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced more than $650,000 in federal funding for Memphis through several Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grants for the Memphis Zoo and the Metal Museum. The Memphis Zoo was awarded two grants totaling $627,160 for facility upgrades and research projects, and the Metal Museum was awarded $26,000 to help digitize its archives.

“This infusion of federal funding will support and improve our city’s world-class zoo for all Memphians and help attract tourists,” said Congressman Cohen.