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Hollywood Stars Come to DC to Advocate Arts Funding

Steven Lawton/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Amid the budget cut stalemate unraveling in Washington, a handful of celebrities made their Capitol Hill debut on Thursday to advocate for increased funding for the arts.

Actor Tim Daly led the star-studded delegation on behalf of The Creative Coalition, a non-profit organization that advocates for the arts and entertainment.  Once a year, the group blitzes Washington to petition legislators to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), according to Daly, the president of the Creative Coalition.

Each actor in attendance shared a personal story about how the arts affected their home towns, their education and their lives, with true showbiz flair.

Los Angeles-bred actor David Arquette remembered how he struggled in school before finding a place in theater.

“I got distracted when I was younger,” Arquette told ABC News.  “The school play really focused me.  It’s given me a drive.”

The actor and producer will soon grace the small screen with his own show for the Traveling Channel, a project that has allowed Arquette to witness the ripples of American entertainment.

“It’s incredible to see the impact that American culture has around the world and how it’s still a huge influence.  And that’s something to be nurtured; it’s not something to be cut,” he said.

When the time came to visit lawmakers, the stars focused not only on the cultural benefits of the arts, but on its economic importance as well.

Richard Kind, star of the HBO series Luck, emphasized the industry’s power to stimulate the economy.  For every dollar spent by the NEA, according to The Creative Coalition, it reaps seven tax dollars, which was admittedly a surprise for the actor.

“I thought the arts were just there for enrichment of the soul,” Kind said.  “It can also enrich the economy.”

“Those are odds that you would take to Vegas, to the stock market any day of the week,” Daly said.  “We feel that to cut a program that is working so well would be foolhardy.”

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