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Eliminating the NEA: FastCompany Outlines What a Bad Idea This Is

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 03, 2017

National Endowment for the Arts logoIn late January, Donald Trump’s transition team informed White House staff that the President’s budget included steep cuts for a number of federal agencies. Among the cuts reported by The Hill, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated. The news set off alarms for arts advocates. In its article, “Defunding the NEA Would Be Incredibly Stupid: Here’s Why,” FastCompany pulls no punches in contesting the wisdom of that move.

Author Diana Budds points out that while the NEA takes up a paltry amount of the federal budget – the NEA and NEH combined consume only 0.02% of the budget (or an average annual cost of 46¢ to each taxpayer) – the programs they support bring immeasurable value to urban and rural communities across America. The article also cites NEA statistics that estimate each 1$ of NEA funding yields an additional $9 of additional grants from public and private sources, generated from the legitimacy NEA funding gives to a project.

The article outlines a number of projects the NEA supports, which provide real, economic value in, for example, supporting entrepreneurship, reclaiming unusable spaces, or promoting education. Among the programs supported by the NEA and mentioned in the FastCompany article are:

• The design of a warming bassinet for premature infants, under development in Rhode Island;
• The transformation of a brownfield in Carlisle, PA (part of a larger urban renewal project);
• The development of urban spaces under elevated rails and freeways through the Under the Elevated project in New York City, organized by the Design Trust for Public Space;
• A program to educate and support entrepreneurship in the Navaho Nation, led by Denver, CO design firm Catapult;
• Building Hero Initiative, conducted by a Philadelphia non-profit Tiny WPA, which brings children and adults from diverse backgrounds to collaborate on design projects.

Budds encourages readers to contact the their Congressional members to request that funding isn’t pulled from the NEA and NEH. Both programs are operating under short-term budgeting that lasts only through April.

You can read the entire article here.

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