Trump Shows His Intent To Axe National Endowment for the Arts

18 March, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Donald Grump looks for an apprentice during a 2005 episode of “Sesame Street.”

President Donald Trump's proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts is "shortsighted and alarming", according to the music industry's largest organization of recording professionals.

Trump's proposed budget, released early Thursday, zeroes out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The NEA now receives $148,000,000 in government money, which would immediately go away under Trump's plan.

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. Much of those funds go toward seed funds for projects across the state, and can "leverage often more than three times that amount in local funding, but really provide crucial support to get local projects off the ground", Wortzel said.

The endowments were created when legislation was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and this is the first time a president has proposed getting rid of them. In it, Trump bemoans in a trumped-up quote: "We have not seen one single NEA-backed project come close to justifying its cost since the Swedish-American sculptor debuted his Pop Art masterpiece in 1970, challenging the way we grapple with questions of industrialization and decay".

"He was the one that laid the ground work for creation of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities", she said.

"Ninety percent of our funding comes from the NEH".

But the NEA's support of local artists is more than just funding, says Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts.

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"If we didn't have that, that program wouldn't exist", he said. About $33,000 of that, or $66,000 with state dollars, "goes out to schools", Tzougros said. Senator Kristen Gillibrand teamed up with 24 USA 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".

"Rural communities in particular are not reached by other sources of funding for history, and literature programs, programs that are delivered through museums and libraries", Stephen Kidd, the executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, told TPM.

This year, the NEA is making $3.5 million in grants in MA. "For us to have that kind of stamp of approval has been fantastic in the growth of this company".

A map of where NEA grants are distributed in MA.

Cultural scenes in smaller towns and cities rely on grants from the NEA, says Fitchburg Art Museum director Nick Capasso.

Hollywood stars have also spoken out against the proposed cuts, with actor Mark Ruffalo denouncing it as "ripped from [Steve] Bannon's nationalistic playbook" and Julie Andrews calling it "mind-boggling" in an open letter published on CNN.

David Tuerck, president of the Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research in Boston, says he's ambivalent about the NEA itself, but thinks the president should've talked to the country about the federal government's role in the arts before making such a drastic statement.

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