Culture&Arts

How Trump's budget threatens 'essential' LA after-school programs, arts

How Trump's budget threatens 'essential' LA after-school programs, arts

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have always been ripe targets for conservatives looking to trim fat from the federal budget, but President Donald Trump's newly released blueprint proposes eliminating them entirely-and arts and humanities advocates are already gearing up for a fight.

Trump's proposed budget, released early Thursday, zeroes out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

California got $132 million in 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding in the current fiscal year, according to the state Department of Education.

President Trump has proposed the elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but the body, nor its subsidiaries NPR and PBS, plan on taking this lying down.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the NEA and NEH into law in 1965.

Malcolm Brett, director of broadcasting and media innovations at UW-Extension, said he is "concerned" about the proposed elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but is optimistic that constituents will speak up to maintain funding. "There's just nothing. The only way we can really raise money for some of these visionary projects is with the help of the NEA".

Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has informed her staff of the president's decision to eliminate both programs.

"Ninety percent of our funding comes from the NEH".


"The modest support that we provide to music and the arts is returned many times over, whether measured in jobs and economic impact, or sheer cultural enrichment and introspection", he said.

Marquis Victor, executive director of the Elevated Thought Foundation, a Lawrence-based nonprofit that works to empower youth through art and social justice, said the proposed cuts show a "complete and utter disregard to the power of youth". The theater also offers programs for high school students.

"There has never been an administration like this one, so we don't know what to expect", he said. The NEA has often come under scrutiny for funding controversial artwork such as Andres Serrano's photograph "Piss Christ" (1987) and Robert Gober's color print "Genital Wallpaper" (1989).

Like Wortzel, Tzougros noted federal grants can serve as a "stamp of approval" to draw more dollars. The organization's last NEA grant was $10,000 for a community leadership program. "It doesn't seem like a move to save money so much as an ideological statement about what he thinks is important in our society and our country", said Steve Collins, executive director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

"We wouldn't be around for 26 years if we didn't have the support of the NEA", Parker said.

"Typically if we get a state budget cut there is an immediate, but temporary, uptick in giving", Brett said.

Arts leaders say that stipulation is a strong driver of fundraising, because federal funding, though relatively small, boosts the prestige of arts projects, and that prestige attracts more funding.


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