But the cowboy poetry festival is an intriguing example. It represents a successful local effort to preserve a vanishing folk culture. It does not regularly receive government funding. But two small NEA grants 27 years ago enabled the Western Folklife Center to locate cowboy poets and begin the festival. A quarter of a century later, the festival brings 6,000 to 8,000 tourists to Elko, Nev., annually and functions without any continuing federal support. The project well illustrates the ways in which the arts can invigorate small towns (as well as fading downtowns in cities), how grants can preserve cultural material in danger of vanishing; and how seed grants can kick-start community ventures that become self-sustaining.