Don’t let Trump de-fund the National Endowment for the Arts

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We write as Board Members and Staff of the Connecticut Arts Alliance (CAA) and for the tens of thousands of Connecticut arts organizations and artists on whose behalf CAA works.

On February 12, President Trump released his FY 2019 budget request. His proposal includes the termination of our nation’s cultural grant-making agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Last July, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a funding level of $145 million for the NEA, which represented a $5 million cut. In November, the Senate set the NEA’s funding level at $150 million for FY18, which is level with its current budget (and only 0.004% of the Federal budget). As the funding process moves forward, we encourage our legislators to support no less than a funding level of $150 million for the NEA for FY18. We also ask them to support funding in the amount of $155 million for FY19 and to reject the President’s request to terminate the NEA.

The NEA is the single largest national funder of nonprofit arts in America. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants throughout all 50 states and U.S. Territories. NEA grants help leverage more than a 9 to 1 match in private charitable gifts and other state and local public funding. The NEA also has an exemplary partnership with the states, with 40 percent of program funds distributed through state arts agencies. In 2017, 14 arts organizations in Connecticut directly received NEA funding, hundreds more indirectly benefited from an NEA grant to the Connecticut Office of the Arts, and millions of our state’s citizens and out-of-state tourists have enjoyed NEA-funded programming.

With only a $150 million current annual budget, the NEA investments in the arts helps contribute to a $730 billion economic arts and culture economic industry, including 4.2 percent of the annual GDP and supporting 4.8 million jobs that yields a $26 billion trade surplus for the country. In Connecticut, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.3 million in annual economic activity in the state, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.3 million in local and state government revenues.

We ask all supporters of the arts to contact their legislators to request their assurance that this work continues by supporting no less than $150 million for the NEA in the FY18 budget and $155 million in FY19.

President Amy Wynn
Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, Torrington
Vice President Joshua Borenstein
Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven
 Vice President Dartanian Reed
Hartford City Ballet
 Treasurer Frank Tavera
Palace Theater, Waterbury
 Secretary Diane Ploch
Arts & Culture Collaborative, Waterbury
 Elizabeth Fisk Barriser
Brass City Ballet, Middlebury
  Bob Burns
Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury
  Wendy Bury
Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition, Stonington
  Eric Dillner
Shoreline Arts Alliance, Guilford
  David Fay
Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford
 John F. Fisher
Shubert Theater, New Haven
 Daniel Fitzmaurice
Arts Council of Greater New Haven
 Carrie Hammond
Infinity Hall, Hartford
 Calida Nicole Jones
Bravo Waterbury
 Dan McMahon
Goodspeed Musicals, Haddam
 Frank Mitchell
Amistad Center for Arts and Culture, Hartford
 Tracy  Mozdzierz
Hartford Performs
 Steve Sigel
Garde Arts Center, New London
 Mike Stotts
Hartford Stage
 Nancy Stula
William Benton Museum, Storrs
 Brett Thompson
Greater Hartford Arts Council
 JoAnne Torti
After School Arts Program aka ASAP!, Washington
 Angela Whitford
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, Norwalk
 Administrator Darren Farrington
Connecticut Arts Alliance

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