A brief history of the National Endowment for the Arts

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.

Actor Adrien Brody broke his usual silence towards paparazzi this week when asked about President Donald Trump and the arts.

Get ready for an America that doesn't fund any works of art and where books by Trump are required reading.

President Trump's proposed budget calls for big cuts in a wide array of domestic programs - among them, agencies that fund the arts, humanities and public media.

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

"The continuing education can be on topics like how to prepare for a disaster in your library, like a flood or hurricane. but also how to digitize collections in a correct way so your investment in the digital files is going to last for many years", said executive director Bill Veillette.

The same fate would also befall the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds dozens of scholarly programs in California. "There's just nothing. The only way we can really raise money for some of these visionary projects is with the help of the NEA".

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

This isn't the first time federal-funded arts and culture programs have been on the chopping block, but agencies that rely on funds locally are preparing for the worst. 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".

This year, the NEA is making $3.5 million in grants in MA.

"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. Calling the elimination of the NEA "the best thing for the arts in decades", he described "a closed art economy" where many theater companies with subsidies get barely half of their revenue from ticket sales - a scenario that he says is counterproductive to creating a competitive art economy. "For us to have that kind of stamp of approval has been fantastic in the growth of this company". "It doesn't seem like a move to save money so much as an ideological statement about what he thinks is important in our society and our country", said Steve Collins, executive director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

A map of where NEA grants are distributed in MA. "Federal funding is an essential ingredient to making this possible". Proponents of the proposed cuts have said that the proposed elimination of the agencies will open the door to a freer arts market that forces artists to produce works that speak to local audiences, rather than to bureaucrats in Washington.

  • Ernesto Newman