President Trump has recently proposed to completely eliminate the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, which would hurt small rural programs the most. This would not only completely deconstruct the nation’s cultural framework, but diminish the future outlook on the importance of these programs for the next generation.
I grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, attending public schools from kindergarten through high school. My education started with learning the styles of Monet, Picasso, Dali, van Gough and singing songs about “dot dot Seurat.” I learned how to write my own blues songs, play the keyboard, square dance and count a waltz. I made sculptures, imitated Native American basket weavers and African mask creators. I toured the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) and the Wandsworth Atheneum. I sang songs in Latin, Hebrew and Swahili.
Being submerged into this culture at a young age gave me an appreciation for not only the arts, but other cultures. It taught me to be open and appreciate other peoples’ cultures around the world. I learned to have a critical eye for artwork and learned that just because something was “different” in another culture, didn’t mean it was “weird.” I am lucky to have learned these important life and worldly lessons, and believe that all young minds should have access to resources that allow them to explore these topics.
President Trump’s budget would completely eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget, the CPB’s $445 million budget and the $230 million for the Institute of Library Services, which supports libraries and museums across the country. These cuts would also greatly affect the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art, according to The Washington Post. This funding is currently .02 percent of the overall federal budget. His proposed budget is $0, which is not OK.
While Elmo and Big Bird will probably be OK, as well as NPR, the smaller state and local arts groups that already operate on small budgets will be affected the most. This budget elimination will most likely completely scrap local events on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and smaller NPR affiliates. Not to mention, the National Endowment for the Humanities, which brings funding to research, documentaries and artists. Also left in the dust would be the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which helps local libraries purchase computers and establish disability services.
Many programs in large cities will most likely find new sources of funding, while the smaller organizations in the inner cities or rural cultural groups will see a devastating change. While being a part of the world of arts and culture has many benefits, it is no secret many of these programs already struggle for funding. Even right here on our campus the theatre, dance and arts programs have struggled to have the university fund its expenses. Leaders in the culture and arts programs all over the states have fought to maintain federal funding for years and these cuts will undoubtedly negatively affect the nation’s appreciation, beauty and understanding for the arts and other cultures of the world.