New Budget targets the Arts
In 2016 the federal budget was $3.899 Trillion with only .02% of it going to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
This percentage may seem negligible but federal dollars are used to leverage state, local and private funding that supports a network of arts organizations, educational entities, museums, libraries and public broadcasting affiliates.
Say goodbye to Bert and Ernie, art therapy for our veterans returning from war and even your local NPR radio station.
Patricia Aufderheide, founder of the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University says, “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting money is actually crucial to keeping stations alive. That is what pays for the electric bill, that is what pays for upgrades in the equipment. Without that money, I think there are very few stations that are going to operate purely on donations.”
In 2013, there was an estimated 42% of non profit arts groups operating at a loss.
Last year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) sent $47 million to 50 states and five jurisdictions, funds that helped to leverage $368 million from state governments. Together, those funds were distributed through 24,000 grants, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Although all states would suffer under the proposed budget, poor and rural communities would be hardest hit, according to the NASAA. About 25 percent of NEA block-grant funds go to rural communities and 54 percent to low-income areas.
Funding for the arts is crucial for functioning society.
"Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable"
In the words of George Bernard Shaw -
When Winston Churchill was asked to cut the arts funding in favor of the war effort, he simply said
"Then what are we fighting for?"
In short, if you enjoy museums, support local music, get your news from NPR or have young children who thrive while watching Big Bird, reach out to your Senators and Congressman and let them know that you do not support these severe cuts to the arts.