Defend the National Endowment for the Arts
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On March 16th, 2017, United States President Donald Trump released his budget plan for the next fiscal year. Among the many changes that this budget would bring, Trump’s financial plan includes eliminating all federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2016, the NEA had a budget of $148 million (less than .01% of the total federal budget), yet it supported 2,400 direct grants reaching all 435 congressional districts, totaling more than $110 million. The NEA contributed $43.6 million in partnership funding with state arts agencies, which supported another 23,000 grants to 17,500 organizations, schools and artists in nearly 5,000 communities across the United States. These grants benefit all Americans. For example:
-65 percent of NEA grants go to small and medium-sized organizations, which tend to support
projects that benefit audiences that otherwise might not have access to arts programming.
-40 percent of NEA-supported activities take place in high-poverty neighborhoods.
-36 percent of NEA grants go to organizations that reach underserved populations such as people with disabilities, people in institutions, and veterans.
-More than half of NEA-funded art events take place in locations where the median household
income is less than $50,000.
Think of your own experiences. School art classes or music lessons; local museums, theatres, or dance studios; both professional companies and your high school’s winter musical; all of these things depend on support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Vanderbilt Performing Arts Community (VPAC), as an advocate for performing arts on Vanderbilt University’s campus, recognizes the nation-wide importance of the NEA, and the danger of its potential defunding. As students, the arts empower and educate us every day, regardless of our fields of study. It follows, then, that as students, it is our duty to defend the amazing artistic culture of the United States, and stand in opposition of the proposed budget cuts.
We, as students and this country’s future leaders, ask Tennessee Senators Corker and Alexander to vote against President Trump's proposed budget and continue to support the National Endowment for the Arts.
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