From dance to music, plays and museums, art is everywhere. It is a form of expression and entertainment for so many around the country. The arts have changed people’s lives whether they are performing or attending as an audience member. Can the funding for the arts be coming to a close?
The National Endowment for the Arts was established in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson. On the NEA website the displayed statement is that they are an "independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation."
President Trump has mentioned cutting the funding in it's entirety for this highly important agency, but why?
According to arts.gov for the 2016 year, the NEA funded $147,949,000 on the arts. It covered major programs noted in one of the most popular places for the arts, New York City. The money especially helped the less fortunate areas to fund activities. Trump made the statement that he would like to have more money for military spending (or maybe a hotel in place of where the NEA headquarters used to be in Washington). Randy Shulman from metro weekly.com writes, "while cutting the NEA would make little difference in the overall budget, it would vastly impact the often meagre budgets of non-profit arts organizations nationwide, resulting in, if not exactly decimation, very clear and present hardships, impacting economics, programming and outreach."
If we spend all our money on tanks and missiles while our schools are falling apart, our environment is toxic, our kids aren’t provided after-school programs, and our seniors are starving to death, what is there left for the military to defend?
With this statement, it could bring about many questions. Why would the funding for an agency that can not only be used by people for entertainment, but for a livelihood be cut? Wouldn't it affect jobs? Would it eventually put theaters out of business over time or even those performing arts schools and colleges?
There are groups and organizations throughout the United States that solely depend on funding from the NEA to be able to afford supplies and travel to other cities to share what they love with others. Major dance companies based in New York City were some of the first recipients of the grants to be able to produce and come as far as they have over the years. Without the funding or the NEA, would other small dance companies or theater groups be able to evolve into well known performing arts groups like companies such as American Ballet Theater have become?
As of March 11, 2017, there is no definite answer as to what will actually be happening to the National Endowment of the Arts. If you think about it, this funding is not wasteful. Think about where the arts were back in the 1920's with the jazz age or even 10 years later with the Harlem Renaissance. These historical times have influenced the world of performing arts will continue for years to come. In 100 years, would the future of the arts be able to still be influenced by what current performers do now if we do not have the funding to do so?