Sources: Desert News, The Federalist, Miami New Times
The new administration is in the midst of drafting plans to cut funding for the arts sector in America, and more specifically, funds for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a U.S. federal government agency dedicated to supporting and funding projects in the arts.
Further plans to privatize organizations dedicated to the preservation and advancement of arts and culture are in the works, including plans to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public radio.
Removing funds for the NAE would mean withdrawing about $146M –or less than .02 percent of the government’s total annual budget.
Some argue that the plan will help improve the arts sector by placing it in the hands of the public, to be shaped by public interest, rather than federal government interests, as Heritage Foundation economist, Romina Boccia, explained it.
Others argue, however, that “public interest” includes private organizations that have become increasingly invested in the arts to advance specific social and political agendas.
Removing funds would likely affect groups tangent to the NAE, including 5,000 art exhibitions and well over 30,000 musicals, theater and dance performances, and programs.
An article from New Times, Miami, says defunding of the org is a “targeted” move at the arts sector, not born out of necessity, because the percentage taken from the total government budget is so minuscule (less than .02 percent).
Moreover, arts institutions and organization that have benefited from the NAE are at risk. These include Miami Dade College and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which in the last few months has extended educational opportunities to more students of diverse backgrounds.
Still, some say defunding the NAE –or defunding “government intervention”—will motivate the public to take more action and support the arts and causes they are passionate about.
One arts leader said the sector needs “few gatekeepers” and called the decision to cut funding the “best thing for the arts in decades.”