c3 & FMC Statement: Elimination of the NEA, NEH, and CPB Indefensible, Shameful, and Senseless
March 16, 2017
The Content Creators Coalition (c3) and the Future of Music Coalition has released the following statement reacting to President Trump’s budget, which if enacted by Congress would eliminate programs supporting arts and culture, including the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:
“The arts play a vital role in our culture. They help define us as a people. They help unite us as a nation. They help inspire us to explore the unknown. They help drive our economy and create American jobs. For these reasons and more, President Trump’s proposed budget that guts the arts programs is indefensible.
“As artists, musicians, and music lovers, we stand united in asking Congress to reject these cuts, retaining support for the arts and culture, by fully funding the NEA, NEH, and CPB.
“The fact is that federal spending for the arts in the U.S. is already shockingly low. In comparison to other countries, it is an international embarrassment. And yet, even with such a small budget, the NEA supports industries that employ millions of Americans and generate billions of dollars every year in revenue and tax dollars. NEA programs nurture musicians, songwriters, designers, actors, filmmakers – all people who make up the music and film industries, two of the biggest exports in our economy. Specifically, the arts and culture industries support 4.8 million jobs and represent 4.2% of the nation’s GDP.
“More importantly and despite its limited budget, the NEA supports an incredible array of arts initiatives. It is essential to arts programs in marginalized, rural, and minority communities. This means access to culture, stronger arts communities, and as a growing body of research shows, a healthier society.
“The NEA is the only organization that makes grants to arts programs in every congressional district. Over the past few years, bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill has grown, and for good reason. It is a win-win – economically and culturally, and it supports the creative soul of our country.
“Equally shameful and senseless is the proposal to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is the primary means of federal support to public radio and television. Many musicians rely on these stations to reach audiences and launch their careers. These stations elevate and sustain precious American traditions that corporate broadcasters won’t touch, with a local focus that algorithmic discovery can’t match. Elimination of federal support would be a disaster for musicians and for cultural diversity.
“Thankfully, over the past few years, we’ve actually seen growing bi-partisan support for these agencies on Capitol Hill. The Appropriations Committee should continue standing with the American people in supporting the arts. And Congress should build its budget priorities around serving the needs of our diverse citizenry, rather than rubber stamping the fringe views of the Heritage Foundation, an extremist organization that advocates for transphobic bathroom laws, racist voter suppression efforts, and has long worked to gut arts programs.