A Call to Action
Greetings, friends. It would have been a challenge this month not to address the attack that has been leveled against the arts in the U.S. Among other terrifying proposed cuts in President Trump's recent budget, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are officially facing elimination.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu released a statement indicating that her agency is "disappointed" but that this "is a first step in a very long budget process."
In response to a recent interview given by David Marcus, a senior contributor to The Federalist and the Artistic Director of a theatre company in NYC, Teresa Eyring of Theatre Communications Group wrote: "When we advocate for the NEA, we advocate for a country that believes recouping 'some corner of the universe for our understanding and enlargement' is essential to our democratic ideals. It means we believe that the town-hall is just as valuable as the marketplace, and that civilization means something more than commerce." Read Eyring's full letter here.
Regardless of the NEA's funding capabilities (which are limited, at $146 million), the federal agency's existence is indicative of the value placed on the arts and culture in the U.S. Losing this agency could not only spell disaster for organizations that rely on NEA funding for vital operating and programmatic support, but also cast a severe shadow on the prioritization of the arts in this country.
If this is an issue about which you feel passionately, we encourage you to speak out however you can in the coming weeks. Here are a few ways to take action:
- Go to Americans for the Arts's Action Center and send a customizable message to your elected representatives in Congress, urging them to oppose the Administration's attempt to eliminate funding to the NEA.
- Call the White House to register your opposition to elimination of the NEA: 202-456-1111.
- Write and submit op-eds and letters to the editor to your local newspapers in support of the NEA. Include examples of the impact of NEA grants on your theatre and your community. For background and examples of talking points, please see Theatre Communications Group's Arts Advocacy Day NEA Issue Brief.
As we know, artists are and have always been leaders in social justice movements. In order for artists to continue to thrive, we need to maintain a strong arts ecosystem in this country.
Sending strength to you, wherever you are,
the artEquity team