President Trump's Budget Would Eliminate National Endowment for the Arts
Mar 18 2017
Trump is the first president to propose scrapping funding to the arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (other items on the chopping list) having always been fought for by both Democrats and Republicans. The danger is, if congress approves Trump's budget plan and abolishes the National Endowment for the Arts, the money would not be available for the grants that are vital to the Art Center's operation, Gilbert said.
"While the NEA is just a small share of the federal budget, it has an outsized impact, especially on smaller arts groups for whom these dollars are critical lifelines", Stringer said.
President Trump has proposed the elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but the body, nor its subsidiaries NPR and PBS, plan on taking this lying down.
"I think the president made a big mistake of looking around for what he considers to be low-hanging fruit in terms of his own cultural and political values, and he's making an effort to get rid of a few things so it looks like he's trying to pay for the expanded spending on defense, which by the way I applaud", he says.
"What we have here is an attack upon global citizenship and national civic culture", Jim Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, told TPM of the potential elimination of the NEH. "The NEA comprises far, far less than 1 percent of the federal budget".
Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has informed her staff of the president's decision to eliminate both programs.
Recent programs have ranged from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum's "Talking Spirits" program, where schoolchildren learn about Civil War history with the help of live costumed actors, to a recent collaboration with the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters to showcase a revival of Wisconsin Oneida beadwork.
"There has never been an administration like this one, so we don't know what to expect", he said.
While there have been battles to protect the NEA in the past, Massachusetts Cultural Council executive director Anita Walker says this feels different. Grants from the NEA were regarded by many conservatives as a form of welfare for liberal elites.
Advocates argue eliminating grants from the NEA and NEH would hit poor and rural communities the hardest because there isn't as much private funding available in those areas. But the support goes beyond money, said Museum Director Kimerly Rohrshack.
Like Wortzel, Tzougros noted federal grants can serve as a "stamp of approval" to draw more dollars.
Several Hollywood personalities immediately took to Twitter where they spoke out against the proposed budget cuts.
Arts leaders say that stipulation is a strong driver of fundraising, because federal funding, though relatively small, boosts the prestige of arts projects, and that prestige attracts more funding.
"Right now, we're seeing a compounding of issues", he said, referring to the threat of cuts to funding streams for both after-school programs funding and arts.