Petition Closed
Petitioning The President of the United States

Protect the Future of Creativity, Imagination and Thought in American Life!

744
Supporters

Culture Stops! is a grassroots group of artists and arts and culture supporters based in Providence Rhode Island who are behind a national day of action to draw attention to the impact of proposed federal budget cuts to the creative sector of the United States. Culture Stops! formed around the simple belief that that creative thought is the lifeblood of democracy.  We know how significant this force is in all of American life – in our schools, in our businesses, in our homes – and how much our society will be damaged if we fail to honor and support the creative impulse and drive of our people.

On March 10th , 2011, cultural organizations and creative businesses - from theaters to libraries to design houses and bookstores - will stop work for eight minutes to a full eight hours in recognition of a possible future without their knowledge and services. To document the impact of this day, we ask you to sign on to this petition so our work may be fully counted and presented to Congress. Please read the accompanying letter to President Obama and members of Congress.

THE FACTS: Both the current Congressional budget and President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget call for massive reductions to, and even eradication of, a range of agencies and programs that directly seed and support creative endeavors and indirectly spur billions of dollars of additional corporate, foundation and individual philanthropy. The budget proposals call for deep cuts, or wholesale elimination, of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Arts in Education, funds for Community Development Block Grants, Pell Grants and funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. These institutions are a critical source of funding for arts and culture programs in public schools, libraries, museums and galleries, public radio and television stations and performing art venues across the country, and support the work of individual artists, designers, writers, musicians and historians.

 According to Americans for the Arts, the non-profit arts industry alone generates $166.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs in the arts and related industries, and returns $12.6 billion in federal income taxes.

For the organizers of Culture Stops! however, it’s not just the potential for economic devastation that is troubling, but the prospect of diminishing the vitality of American life. They maintain that funding cuts to the arts and humanities, heritage and preservation, arts education, public broadcasting, and a host of related federal programs that quietly seed and leverage investment in the creative sector will result in a crisis of our national conscience.

PLEASE SIGN ON TO PROTECT CREATIVITY, IMAGINATION AND THOUGHT!

 

 

Letter to
The President of the United States
On behalf of the national grassroots movement Culture Stops! (www.culturestops.org), we ask you to protect the future of creativity, imagination and thought in American life.

You can do this by restoring funds to areas of the federal budget that will directly affect the creative sector-a sector that generates $166.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs in the arts and related industries, and returns $12.6 billion in federal income taxes. More importantly to the signers of this petition, creativity, imagination and thought are the foundation of American ingenuity-an asset that is part of all things at which our nation excels. As Quincy Jones, a recent recipient of the National Arts medal said upon accepting that honor, "a country is defined by its culture." We believe you agree, but respectfully suggest that you are perhaps unaware of how your actions around annual spending can support or deny this statement.

Both the current Congressional budget and the President's proposed 2012 budget call for massive reductions to, and even eradication of, a range of agencies and programs that directly seed and support creative endeavors and indirectly spur billions of dollars of additional corporate, foundation and individual philanthropy. The budget proposals call for deep cuts, or wholesale elimination, of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Arts in Education, funds for Community Development Block Grants, Pell Grants and funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting among other funds that support creative endeavors. These institutions are a critical source of funding for arts and culture programs in public schools, libraries, museums and galleries, public radio and television stations and performing art venues across the country, and support the work of individual artists, designers, writers, musicians and historians.

We understand and accept that our country’s economic crisis demands shared sacrifice, but we see these cuts as uneven and disproportionate. We believe that Congress needs to apply reductions fairly and evenly - and that it must not balance the federal budget at the expense of the millions of people who add critical vitality to American life. This issue is both an economic and a moral one. Arts and culture feed the minds and fuel the souls of Americans. Seriously weakening these creative forces seriously weakens our country.

March 10th, 2011, was Culture Stops! day of action. It will be remembered as a day when culture stopped: a day when writers put down their pens and artists put down their paints. When architects stopped designing our cities and poets, dancers and sculptors stopped teaching our children. When our national landmarks fell into decay. When debate was no longer fostered in our universities, or on our radio dials. When our symphony halls fell silent and our libraries went dark. When our collective history was left unmade and unwritten.

March 10th 2011 will be remembered as a day when our creative and critical thinkers gave us a taste of America without them. They did this across the nation to put a face to the millions of Americans who are invested in protecting creativity, imagination and thought in American life. And they did this to remind you of your critical role in protecting these values.

You, our elected leadership can do this by restoring funding, being equitable about budget reductions, and by starting to think about increasing our nation's investment in these critical aspects of our children's future. As a nation, we spend less on culture per capita than any other developed nation in the world, but we spend more on defense than all the world's nations combined. Those of us signed onto this letter don't think this is the America we are meant to be. We believe you share this sentiment. You can make the difference here: this can be your legacy.

Respectfully,