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Arts and Entertainment

Trump budget would hurt local arts
ASC chief urges resistance to proposal
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 1:38 am
by Ashley Mahoney

The Arts & Science Council, which provides programming and funding for arts Charlotte, would face cutbacks if President Donald Trump’s proposed elimination of federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts were approved by Congress.

President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts would reshape Charlotte’s arts community.

Congress has not approved a budget since 2009 under former president Barack Obama. While the executive branch cannot enforce such changes (it can only make suggestions), congressional follow through on the proposal would alter Charlotteans’ access to arts.

“For more than 50 years, federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts has provided millions of residents in rural and urban communities across the nation opportunities to participate in the arts,” Arts & Science Council President Robert Bush said last week in a statement. “The proposed elimination of funding to the NEA by President Trump’s administration diminishes residents’ access to high-quality arts experiences and threatens the national economy.”

Bush argues that access to arts and culture should not be determined by an individual’s financial state.

“Everyone should have access and opportunities to experience the arts regardless of their economic status, where they live, ethnicity or disability,” he said. “This budget proposal must not be approved. ASC, the cultural community and its supporters are reaching out to their representatives in Congress now and advocate to keep funding the NEA. It is my hope that fellow residents will do the same.”

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and NEA data from 2013 indicate that the arts provided America’s economy with $704 billion, and 4.2 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product. The arts also provided 4.7 million jobs.

“Funding to the NEA serves as a significant leveraging tool that has helped create an entire industry of locally based small businesses and jobs that cannot be outsourced,” Bush said. “Investment in the NEA provides funding that promotes artistic innovation and addresses access social, technological and healthcare issues.”

Current funding grants free access to Charlotte museums for military families, which Trump’s proposal would eliminate.

“Charlotte Symphony musicians can engage with music students at Northwest School of the Arts, public art animates our community and a UNC Charlotte professor can be featured in the New York Times for re-creating a long-lost dance,” Bush said.  “On a state level, NEA funding to the North Carolina Arts Council enables the council to strengthen arts education throughout the state.”


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