A few weeks back President Trump released his proposed budget and as expected there were severe cuts to the arts. According to the Washington Post:
“The president’s budget would eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget and the CPB’s $445 million budget, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums across the country. Additional cuts could affect the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.”
These cuts would be devastating to many cultural groups across the country. According to the same article quoted above some 42% of non-for-profits operated in the red as late as 2013. See the full article here.
Bagley Cartoon: Trump Budget Priorities. The Salt Lake City Tribune
Many NEA grants are given to state arts councils which combine those federal assets to provide cultural funding to their localities. Some 47 million went to the states last year which when combined with 300 million from the states helped to provide cultural enrichment to the nation through small grants to artists and cultural non-for-profits. One of those non-for-profits is the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.
Last year I received a grant from the Lehigh Valley Arts Council through their Project Stream program in the amount of $1404 to complete and exhibit a body of work. Those paintings, which I’m in the process of working on now, could not have been attempted without the support of this grant which is in turn supported by state and federal dollars. I am acutely aware that I may be one of the last recipients of these dollars due to these proposed budget cuts, and feel that it is a crime that so many artists and cultural groups that I know will struggle more now because of these short sighted policies.
Given that the effected cultural programs represent only about .2% of the nearly 4 trillion dollar budget I hope by time the budget proposals reach Congress that wiser minds will prevail. Apparently NEA funding specifically get distributed in one way or another across every congressional district and so maybe congressmen afraid of an angry electorate will restore these funds. Nevertheless, the threat is real and given the Republican Party’s zeal for cutting budgets I think most of these groups will surely see a reduction in funding in the coming years. Because of how difficult it already is to pursue a career in the arts the news of these cuts are sure to make matters worse for many. I am comforted by the thought that artists usually find ways of supporting culture when the state fails and doing so themselves; and so despite these cuts the arts will still thrive.
I’ve been really into soul music lately especially Marvin Gaye. This one Gaye song called “Its Too Late” made me think of a break up with an ex who I loved dearly. Its so sweet and filled with such longing that I thought I’d share it with you today.
Okay that’s its for today. I think next I’ll provide a new update on Pilot 6 which is almost done. I’m hoping to finish the piece this next week. Until then do be well!