Theater. Symphony. Ballet. Photography. Rap. Congress established the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This government agency promotes the arts through funding the creation and production of artistic works. Recently, however, controversial artistic works have triggered debate over NEA funding. Some artistic works featuring images that go beyond the candor of nude figures have divided viewers into supporters of art and those who shield their eyes from the controversial scenes. The threshold of what art is acceptable and what art is improper has left artists explaining or defending their craft. In 1989, Congress passed a federal law prohibiting NEA funding for obscene artistic works. Obscenity determinations were to be made exclusively by the NEA. Bella Lewitzky Dance Foundation v. Frohnmayer, the first case interpreting this legislation, found the obscenity statute unconstitutional.

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