Dear Arts Advocates,
Today’s The Hill newspaper carried a disturbing but not unexpected article related to funding for the arts in the incoming administration. The article said that policy advisors to the President are calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
In a town where a great number of people consider themselves advisors, I can’t comment on how seriously these recommendations might be taken in D.C., but I can point out that they are stale old recommendations from over two decades ago from a Heritage Foundation report now repackaged as a “Blueprint” and that the people quoted as policy advisors in this article are all former Heritage Foundation staff.
Americans for the Arts Action Fund documented the arts policy positions of every Presidential candidate during the election. When President-Elect Trump was interviewed about the Arts last spring, he said, ”…supporting and advocating for appreciation of the arts is important to an informed and aware society. As President, I would take on that role.” Specifically regarding appropriations for the National Endowment for the Arts, President-Elect Trump said, “The Congress, as representatives of the people, make the determination as to what the spending priorities ought to be.”
There are many decision-making points in our federal process including the White House, Congressional budget resolution, Congressional appropriations committees, plus the full House and Senate. Each of these branches and stages need to be informed so that good decisions result. We look forward to leading that advocacy.
What we do know is that the arts are a great investment in our national economy.
- The arts are a $704 billion industry.
- The arts mean business, accounting for 4.2 percent of the nation’s annual GDP.
- The arts deliver an economic advantage, generating a $24 billion annual trade surplus.
- The arts equal jobs, employing 4.7 million workers.
- The very small NEA budget serves as a significant leveraging tool that has helped create an entire industry of locally based small business and jobs that cannot be outsourced.
The arts make America great, creating unique cultural identities for communities, dynamic tourism destinations for visitors, educational programs for adults and children, healing programs for military veterans and their families, and improvement in areas as diverse as transportation, housing and infrastructure.
Arts advocates should be prepared to share the broad value of the arts in the upcoming days and weeks. Take a moment to join the Americans for the Arts Action Fund for free today. Tell friends to join. When you do, you will be connected to ongoing alerts filled with information about how you and your friends and colleagues can support the arts through action, advocacy, and mobilization.
Americans for the Arts wants to work with the incoming Administration in making America the best that it can be and we feel certain the arts are a proven strategy for building better lives and communities across the country. Thank you for working with us to ensure every American has opportunities to experience the transformative power of the arts.
Robert L. Lynch
President and CEO
Americans for the Arts
1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005-4940
Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America.
With more than 50 years of service, it is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.