Trump is breaking up with the NEA. Take a look at these actual and totally legitimate texts from the NEA’s phone.
This is not NBD. Trump’s 2018 Federal Budget Proposal makes it excruciatingly clear that putting “America First” means leaving publicly funded art far behind.
– Show Me The Money –
According to their 2016 facts and figures page, the National Endowment for the Arts’ allotted budget was $147.9 million, making up a mere .004 percent of the federal budget. I would make a pie chart to show you how small that amount of money is in comparison to the overall budget, but it would honestly just look like a singularly colored circle. Okay, fine, here’s a pie chart.
Even with its comparatively teeny tiny cut of the federal budget pie, the NEA has established itself as game changer in the U.S. Arts community since its beginnings in the 60’s, supporting programs on the local, state, and federal level. In addition to the NEA’s stellar commitment to accessibility, expression, and artistic diversity, the federal organization brings major cash flow back into the American economy by creating jobs in arts industries and skyrocketing ticket sales at arts events and performances.
– Don’t Believe Me, Just Watch. –Bruno Mars –
Here is a pu-pu platter of NEA funded projects (some that you’ve heard of, some that you probably haven’t) that would be potentially dismantled by Trump’s proposed cuts.
Poetry Out Loud: POL has served over 3 million students and 45,000 teachers in 10,000 schools around the country by hosting poetry recitation competitions in order to help kids build confidence and become expert public performers. POL works in every single US state to provide teachers with classroom materials and recitation-based curricula to encourage youth engagement with poetic expression and literary history. Goodbye stage fright!
The Museums You Love: You can thank the NEA for a whole bunch of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into exhibition installations…specially $29 million dollars worth of work over the last ten years. NEA grants assist organizations like the Met and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston cover the cost of insurance, shipping, and catalogue publishing. This fall, the NEA will help the Metropolitan Museum of Art minimize the $2.4 billion dollar insurance fee on their Michelangelo exhibition.
500 Days of Summer, Donnie Darko, and Garden State: Robert Redford couldn’t have started the Sundance Film Festival without the NEA’s support in 1981…which means that you wouldn’t have cried at the end of Garden State because the film probably wouldn’t be have been seen by more than 30 people in a basement. Independent filmmakers and documentarians rely on festivals like Sundance to get their big distribution breaks. Sundance and the NEA strive to make filmmaking a more democratic and accessible medium for all, because the best stories shouldn’t need the biggest budgets to come to life.
Creative Forces, NEA Military Healing Network: In partnership with the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs, the NEA sustains 11 clinical sites around the country that provide art and community-based therapy to veterans and veteran families in need. This national program supplies art materials and designs pro-social activities in a clinical setting, all while keeping track of the biological, behavioral, and economic impacts these arts-based therapies have on the communities and individuals they serve. So…Trump wants to increase spending on Military programs, but is not prepared to support veterans once they return from duty? Something doesn’t add up here.
Project Row House in Houston, Texas: Prepare yourself for possibly the most impressive cultural non-profit organization in history. Yup, including the one your cousin works for. Founded in the 90s by local African American artists, Project Row House continues to transform Houston’s Northern Third Ward by combining affordable/sustainable housing initiatives with public art and community empowerment programs. Project Row House connects artists with residents, grants housing and counseling for young mothers, and offers community incubation labs for artists, thinkers, and entrepreneurs. According to their website, they are expected to receive $67,000 this year from the NEA and NEH. Project Row House has quite literally built art into the community it serves, and it couldn’t exist without organizations like the NEA.
– Feeling Fired Up? –
You’re not alone. On February 15th, a bi-partisan group of 24 senators signed a letter to Trump, insisting that he reconsider his federal budget cuts. But you don’t have to be a senator (unless you want to be, in which case, go for it!) to make a dent in this issue. Drop a line to your friendly governmental reps. Share personal narratives about the impact that arts programs have had in your life or the lives of the people you love. Use your voice/thumbs. Tweet, post, share. There are tonnnnns of pieces like this one that catalogue the long list of reasons why the NEA rocks. Get yo learn on and tell a friend.
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