Americans for the Arts president and CEO Robert L. Lynch issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s proposed elimination of FY2018 funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA):
“I am deeply troubled by the Trump Administration’s proposed FY2018 budget calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. President Trump is the first and only American president who has made such a recommendation. Our nation’s parents, teachers, community leaders, arts advocates, government officials, and even economists will not accept this proposal. For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories, as well as placing arts therapists in military hospitals to help returning military heroes heal from physical and traumatic brain injuries. Republican and Democratic leaders alike deeply value the work of the NEA. In fact, even Rep. Mark Walker, chair of the Republican Study Group, stated that he is not inclined to support cutting funding for the arts, adding ‘I appreciate the education that is found in the arts, so at this point I have no path to making any kind of hard cuts right now.’
“The Administration’s budget proposal stems from tired old ideas that show a lack of understanding of the important role that the NEA plays in America today. This thinking could not be more misguided. With only a $148 million annual appropriation, the NEA’s investment in every Congressional District in the country contributes to a $730 billion arts and culture industry in America, representing 4.2 percent of the annual GDP. This arts and culture industry supports 4.8 million jobs and yields a $26 billion trade surplus for our country. President Trump does not yet realize the vast contribution the NEA makes to our nation’s economy and communities, as well as to his own agenda to create jobs ‘made and hired’ in America.
“We know that the work on the FY2018 budget will continue until at least October 2017. Along the way, there are many points in the process where Americans for the Arts, with arts advocates and partners from across the country, will be united in communicating with Congress and the American people to make sure they know the impact of the arts in their states and districts and in our nation.”