Speaking Out on Proposed White House Budget Cuts

By Imagining America | March 23, 2017

Last week, we received the not surprising, but critical news that the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are targeted for elimination in the proposed budget released by the Trump Administration. Also under threat of extinction are 19 agencies ranging from the Appalachian Regional Commission to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with serious funding cuts to many more. These diverse agencies support necessary services, scientific exploration, and creative expression that pushes the boundaries of imagination.

Together, we continue our collective work of speaking up and out to preserve culture work. At this urgent moment, we stand in knowledge of the inherent and powerful value of the arts and humanities in our society. Below, we have collected reflections from three members of the Imagining America National Advisory Board, followed by a list of resources to take action.

Speaking Up: Responses from IA Board Members

“For over 50 years, the NEH and NEA have been the leading federal agency supporting the work of artists and scholars. What makes this moment particularly ironic regarding budget cuts is that NEH has developed a wealth of innovative programs to encourage partnerships among academic and public humanities sectors. New forms of publicly engaged scholarship are serving communities and returning veterans and reaching out to K-12 as well as college students and ordinary citizens through digital and documentary projects. People often forget that 40% of NEH funding goes to public programs through a national federation of state humanities councils. In other words, just as academics, public humanities professionals, and communities are launching imaginative collaborations that enrich the arts, public culture, and scholarship, we face these dire cuts.” – Teresa Mangum, Professor, The University of Iowa

“It is critical for us to resist the ideology that defense and isolation are the primary exports of the United States. The promise of this country is found within on the frontline of the imagination, not in walls or wars. We must not give in to this transformation of our vast cultural assets into mechanisms of global destruction.” – Carlton Turner, Executive Director, Alternate ROOTS

“The strength of the United States is predicated on its cultural diversity and openness to different ways of being/thinking/imagining. The proposed cuts to cultural and scientific institutions would be devastating to the (social and economic) vibrancy of this country and detrimental to the core principles on which this country was founded. I hope that the present budget will be amended to allow these institutions to operate at the highest level possible.” – Mallika Bose, Associate Professor

Speaking Out: Resources for Action

  • As part of the Arts Action Fund’s #SaveTheNEA campaign, write to your elected representatives.
  • Write to your lawmakers using The Performing Arts Alliance’s response form, and use the talking points for discussion in their Advocacy Issue Center.
  • The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture invites you to take part in #RevolutionOfValues on April 4th, 2017, to draw inspiration from and breathe new life into the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.