Agency follows a uniquely American way of funding arts

The three examples each benefited from five-figure grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts agency whose $148 million budget was dropped from the federal budget proposed by the Trump administration last week. At the same time, we need to tell the stories of how the arts cause students to learn and behave better, heal servicemen's traumatic injuries sustained in defense of our nation and infuse billions of dollars of economic activity into every corner of the nation. "Without proper funding of the NEA, the elite minds of the artistic world will have a smaller margin than they already have to continue influencing and fueling the next generation and promoting one of the most lovely parts of the human existence - expression from the roots of creativity", says Lewis, a Boys and Girls Hall of Fame inductee.

This new proposal is hardly the first to discount and disregard the power of the arts.

When we break up the budget of the NEA it's easy to see that this cut made by Trump is going to negatively affect Americans who typically have nothing. Philanthropies like the Ford Foundation should foot the bill, they say. When they retraced their steps, they revealed blue-lit orbs that cast an eerie glow on the performance art of Lita Albuquerque for the Laguna Art Museum.

These arguments are a disservice to the American people.

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts might seem expendable - especially given how often celebrity artists insult and even threaten the president. As of 2014, the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates, our nation's creative sector contributes almost $730 billion to our GDP-a larger share than 44 states. It supports 4.8 million jobs, from schools to galleries, theaters, and beyond. And it supplies an enormous trade surplus that continues to grow year after year; America's culture remains among our proudest exports. The arts community insists that the actual savings produced by wiping out the arts funding would be negligible. The arts achieve an extraordinary, outsized bang for the buck.

The council is getting $719,000 from the NEA this year, which amounts to 70 percent of its funding, Brooks said.

Nevertheless, these modest investments generate cascading impact. "People are activated. They want to help".

Beyond community building, these programs contribute to a town's economy. "The NEA supports writers and readers in all stages". "Most museums will simply stop trying to organize them because commercial insurance for works of art on this level of value is so expensive".

Of course, there is something at stake here much greater than the economic impact of public support for the arts. Do we want students who are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to have academic success, particularly in math and science? It is the core of who we are. At the end of that decade, Jesse Helms and other conservative members of the United States Congress attacked the NEA because it had given small amounts of money to artists Andres Serrano, who created a handsome series of photographs that included one of a cheap plastic crucifix submerged in urine, and Robert Mapplethorpe, whose photographs included some that could be seen as homoerotic. Page after page, hour after hour, my mind visited worlds from which I otherwise would have been excluded. Yet they had a multimillion-dollar budget and a large donor base with a great deal of existing financial support, and I suggested that maybe the NEA ought to give a grant to a different organization that actually needed the money. Chicago groups I've talked with said they'd have to scramble and perhaps make compromises to counteract the loss.

I'm not knocking people who serve in the armed forces. We would create a culture of only what sells in the moment.Support for "the arts" needs to come from sources not tied to either government or exclusively ticket sales.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the government agency that allocates money* to public broadcasting, is at risk of being defunded by the current administration, along with the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nancy was a proud Republican, appointed by President Richard Nixon, and reappointed by President Gerald Ford. We can't afford to deny our multi-tongued, multi-hued, many-faithed populace the life buoy of the NEA. You don't need an advanced degree in Art Theory to know that is a disservice to veterans everywhere.

The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

  • Larry Hoffman