In the U.S., arts programs rely so heavily on public and private support that they are used to operating under the constant threat of reduced funding. The proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts in President Trump’s newly released budget proposal for FY2018, however, puts the NEA and the NEH on the chopping block altogether. This should be viewed for what it is—a savage gutting of cultural agencies that would, if passed, endanger thousands of meaningful programs, organizations, and ultimately jobs that rely on their funding. Since its inception, the NEA, along with the NEH and CPB, has enriched the lives of millions of Americans by supporting innovative, vital programming across the country. We at IHP have relied on this support to bolster our film programs in ways that have had a tremendous impact on our audience and community.
The proposed budget must be passed by Congress, but in the meantime arts and culture patrons need to speak out against these draconian budget measures that in truth would only save the government relatively scant amounts of money—the NEA, for instance, comprises just .003 percent of total federal spending. But that money, especially for fledgling arts organizations, is vital. Join the #SavetheNEA campaign and contact your representatives to let them know you support a government that values American creativity, expression, education and critical thinking.