“The Arts and Sciences, essential to the prosperity of the State and to the ornament of human life, have a primary claim to the encouragement of every lover of his country and mankind.” –George Washington
As the Executive Director of ASMP, a trade association representing thousands of visual creators, I find the recent budget proposed by President Trump to eliminate the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to be ill-advised and undermining of all this nation represents. As a nation founded by independent entrepreneurs, it is the Arts and Sciences that have been and continue to be building blocks of our economic wellbeing, just as much as manufacturing or resource extraction.
Defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting does a disservice to the American people and the future of our cultural heritage, compromising educational opportunities and professional development for members of ASMP and all American creators – from Silicon Valley to the Potomac.
Historically, federal funding has been the lever that has also unlocked private sources of philanthropic contribution and private corporate support to the betterment of local arts institutions that have in turn funded local artists of all types. All these funding sources have been necessary to enable culture to flourish, particularly in those art forms not necessarily associated with entertainment found in popular culture. Eliminating such federal funding offers the prospect of depleting resources crucial to the advancement of our society.
Without funding of the Arts and Sciences (e.g. research science), the future of the economic drivers associated with digital imaging, drones, and virtual reality could be compromised, eliminating a potential array of creative depth and inventiveness.
If America wants to maintain its global edge as a world economic and cultural leader, then it will be imperative that funding of the Arts continue. I believe it is essential that dialogue happen with our legislative representatives in the nation’s capital so they understand the impact of proposed funding cuts on cultural creators. Make your voices heard on this issue by sending a letter to, or calling, your Representatives and Senators so they can understand how you view the issues.
Thomas R. Kennedy, Executive Director