The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in new and established arts. It focuses on bringing the arts to all Americans and providing leadership in arts education. It has awarded more than 120,000 grants that have brought art to a spectrum of American communities. The Arts Endowment has helped create regional theater, opera, ballet, symphony orchestras, museums and other art organizations. The United States Congress formed the institution in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government that brings art programs to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities and military bases.