Trump Targeting the Arts is a Shame


The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have always been ripe targets for conservatives looking to trim fat from the federal budget, but President Donald Trump's newly released blueprint proposes eliminating them entirely-and arts and humanities advocates are already gearing up for a fight.

We got the actor at LAX Thursday, where he broke his usual silence by telling our photog funding the arts is vital and doesn't really have an impact on the national budget.

People in the MA arts and culture ecosystem have been dreading the Trump administration's budget proposal since rumors of arts funding cuts emerged a few months ago.

In turn, the cuts would help provide funds for defense spending.

New Jersey members of Congress should support continued funding of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About 100,000 students a day attend Beyond the Bell programs, said Alvaro Cortes, the executive director of the program. "The NEA comprises far, far less than 1 percent of the federal budget".

Among entities that would be completely shuttered are the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Both endowments have come under scrutiny in the past from conservatives looking to slash their funding or eliminate their funding entirely.

Kristina Newman-Scott, director of culture for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, said state organizations receive $739,800 from the NEA annually, an amount matched by the state general fund.

"If we didn't have that, that program wouldn't exist", he said. Senator Kristen Gillibrand teamed up with 24 US senators to write a letter to the President encouraging him to continue funding the NEA and NEH, calling them the "drivers of innovation and economic prosperity". With arts agencies in 56 states and jurisdictions, the assembly has found that collectively 25 percent of the state grant allocations go to rural communities, where private funding is not as prevalent, she says. In that same period, Madison Symphony Orchestra's Heartstrings program, which takes classical music to communities of people with special needs, has won $70,000 in NEA grants.

"At that time we were really unprepared to have this kind of debate", she said.

Opera for the Young, a program that goes into Madison-area schools, has received $77,000 directly from the NEA since 2013. "They are the earliest dollars, but sometimes the earliest dollars are the 'confidence dollars, ' and have given us success in philanthropy otherwise", said Tom Loughman, CEO of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.

"We brought some North Andover youth over to our headquarters at the Everett Mills, and (they) had an open discussion around the prejudices and stereotypes each had of the other city and town", he said.

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.