CUTTING FEDERAL FUNDING OF THE ARTS & HUMANITIES SHORT-SIGHTED
This piece originally appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal on March 22, 2017
Also see Currents, which is put out by the The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz which commented on my thoughts.
With crucial federal programs like the ACA, EPA, Planned Parenthood and Medicaid under attack by the Trump Administration, it may be easy to overlook some of the other domestic programs slated for elimination. Yet the proposed budget President Trump introduced this week calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the privatization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Under the CPB’s auspices, local NPR and PBS stations offer the only free broadcast venues dedicated solely to the presentation of accurate news, arts and educational programming.
The elimination of federal funding for the arts and humanities is especially problematic for those of us who live in the Hudson Valley. According to a SUNY New Paltz’s Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach study, Mid-Hudson arts & culture organizations attract 2.6 million day and one million overnight visitors to the region each year, injecting $498 million directly into our local economy every year. The local arts scene also directly and indirectly employs nearly 5000 residents. In Dutchess, Ulster and Orange Counties, Arts Mid-Hudson helps provide grants to 393 organizations and individual artists. Guess where much of Arts Mid-Hudson’s funding comes from? From the New York Council for the Arts, which is funded by New York State and yes, the NEA.