Arts deserve public funding

As President Donald Trump prepares to make dramatic cuts to programs across the nation, his new “blueprint for balance” includes plans on cutting back funding for programs such as The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA has already experienced dramatic budget cuts since 2010, dropping $21.5 million (14 percent) to $146 million in 2015. These programs only take up a little over .002 percent of government spending per year, and they bring in more than $704 billion into the U.S. economy. In total, the administration plans on cutting spending to these programs by $10.5 trillion in the next decade.

These programs being cut would be a huge loss to the American culture, along with job opportunities. While the funding may go to other “priorities,” Trump fails to realize how important these art programs are to America’s culture, and most importantly, America’s future.

Cutting down these funds would lessen scholarships, museum funds and arts programs at schools and institutes. These areas already take up very little of government funding, most of it is through donation. Cutting funds would put these programs on the back burner and could ultimately shut them down.

Art is such a huge part of American culture. It is a way of expression, an outlet for so many people. If you walk around any town or city, it seems like you can turn your head in any direction and see a mural on the side of a building or a sculpture in the middle of the park. There is a very high chance that those artists were funded by the NEA, and without it, they would not exist.

Art teacher Lisa Klenske said she is worried about these budget cuts. “The idea of the people of this country and students in our schools not having access to the arts is very disturbing to me. The arts add quality to all of our lives. They not only embody our culture. The arts help to define it,” she said.

More than 4.74 million people were employed in arts and culture economy in 2013 according to a BEA study. Since these jobs are funded by the government and other donations, it is hard to say if these workers will be impacted by these cuts, but it will definitely put a strain on the art community.

As we grow older and career choices seem to be following us around like a shadow on a sunny day, it is our choice to decide if these programs are worth the funding. Go to protests, visit museums, call your senators. Think about all the ways that art has impacted your life. In movies, books and more, art is impacting us from every aspect. It is our choice to determine America’s future, so stand up for what you think is right.

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