Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith at the 2016 Earshot Jazz Festival photo by Daniel Sheehan.
The NEA is a supporter of the Earshot Jazz Festival.
America Cannot Afford to Lose the National Endowment for the Arts
The current president recently unveiled his proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year, in which there were glaring cuts to programs that are crucial to a thriving society.
Proposed budget for defense spending? $640 billion.
Proposed budget for arts and cultural agencies? A whopping $0.
The current administration’s plans would cut four cultural agencies and their collective $971 million budgets. That’s just .0015% of the defense budget.
It is extremely worrisome that the current administration wants to suppress one of the most vital pillars in our democracy.
In justifying the $54 billion increase in defense spending, the current president says: “These cuts are sensible and rational. Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending.”
Now let’s go back to 1965, as President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into effect the National Endowment for the Arts: “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a Nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a Nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Our current president is not putting America First.
When the arts come under attack, so does the freedom of expression; when the arts are no longer valued, neither is individual thought. The arts have the power to question and captivate, diversify and educate, excite and celebrate. It is through the arts that communities grow and flourish.
The NEA is vital to America’s culture, and so, dear readers, I implore you to take action now. We must prove to our current president and Congress that the arts are not “wasteful.” We must ensure the longevity of our thriving society, which values freedom of expression.
- Contact your representatives and let them know the president and his administration must not cut funding to the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Contact your friends and family members in other states and encourage them to contact their representatives.
- Encourage your social media networks to engage their lawmakers through Twitter and Facebook posts by using #SavetheNEA.
- Have open, honest conversations with your community about what matters to you, and be sure to seek out and listen to other viewpoints.
Remember that the arts are part of a great society.
–Caitlin Peterkin, Earshot Jazz Editor