The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

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John F
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The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:53 am

Arts Groups Draft Battle Plans as Trump Funding Cuts Loom
By MICHAEL COOPER, MICHAEL PAULSON, GRAHAM BOWLEY, ROBIN POGREBIN and RANDY KENNEDY
FEB. 19, 2017

A prominent Broadway producer pledged to make the case for the value of the arts directly to the Trump administration. The St. Louis Symphony drafted an email urging its board members to call their elected representatives. Midway through the Metropolitan Opera’s broadcast on Saturday afternoon, the company’s general manager, Peter Gelb, warned listeners across the country that many of the radio stations they were tuned in to were facing serious cuts.

As the news spread that the White House budget office had included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities on a list of programs it was considering trying to eliminate, arts leaders at large and small organizations around the nation reacted with alarm — and began making plans to fight for their survival.

The federal government here plays a very small role in funding the arts, especially compared with other affluent countries. Together, the three programs that may be targeted account for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of annual federal spending. But even if the arts get only crumbs, administrators said, they are crumbs worth fighting for: much-needed money that supports community projects, new works and making the arts accessible to people in different parts of the country and to those who are not wealthy. And after years of culture-war debates in which conservatives took aim at the programs, questioning their value, arts groups are pressing the case that the federal money they receive supports organizations — and jobs — in all 50 states, both red and blue.

“The N.E.A. has a big impact in the middle of the country — even more so, I suspect, than in urban areas where funding is more diversified,” said Martin Miller, the executive director of TheatreSquared, a regional theater in Fayetteville, Ark. “Losing the N.E.A. would mean that many smaller, mid-American arts companies couldn’t weather a recession,” he said, noting that the endowment supports both state and regional arts councils. “Losing these companies would mean fewer jobs, a lower quality of life and less local spending in the small towns that need it most.”

Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group that represents dozens of beneficiaries of N.E.H. grants, said there was a real sense of alarm that the Trump administration was moving closer to embracing the elimination of the endowment. But there is also real confidence, he said, in continuing opposition from congressional Republicans because of deep support for many N.E.H.-funded programs in conservative areas of the country.

“A big area for the N.E.H. is its programs that aid veterans in their transition back to civilian life,” Mr. Kidd said, mentioning programs like the Warrior-Scholar Project, an “intensive humanities boot camp” that began as a pilot program in 2012 at Yale University and helps veterans prepare for college. The N.E.H. also provides funding for museums around the country to help preserve collections that are critical to the heritage of lots of communities.”

Many arts officials said they were gravely concerned that the programs were back on the chopping block. “It’s another example of our democracy being threatened,” the actor Robert Redford, the president and founder of the Sundance Institute, which helps filmmakers, said in a telephone interview. “Arts are essential. They describe and critique our society.”

President Trump is already facing pressure from some of his allies to preserve the programs. Daryl Roth, a prominent Broadway producer (“Kinky Boots,” “Indecent”) whose husband, Steven Roth, is a Trump adviser, said that she opposed eliminating the programs and that she had expressed her view to the Trump administration and would continue to do so. “The concept of ending federal funding to the N.E.A. and to the many nonprofit arts organizations, artists, writers, cultural institutions, museums and all recipients that would be affected is of course of grave concern to me,” Ms. Roth wrote in an email. “Arts education in the schools, theater groups, music and dance programs help revitalize local communities, both spiritually and economically, across the country.”

The fate of the three organizations is still far from clear: An internal memo that circulated within the Office of Management and Budget last week, which was obtained by The New York Times, noted that the list of programs targeted for elimination could still change. Officials at both of the endowments said they had not received any official word from the White House. But the programs have long been in the cross hairs of conservatives.

Romina Boccia, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said Congress should eliminate federal arts grants altogether. “The minuscule portion of art funding that comes from the federal government does not support the arts in any meaningful way; rather, it distorts the art market toward what is politically acceptable,” she said. She also questioned the need for the federal government to support public broadcasting.

But arts administrators around the nation said in interviews that culture had enjoyed bipartisan support in recent years, and that they were hopeful their elected officials could be persuaded to keep the programs. They began planning last month to make the case for the arts to their audiences, their well-connected board members and Congress.

Mr. Gelb, the general manager of the Met, had planned to tout the company’s recently announced 2017-18 season during the intermission of Saturday afternoon’s broadcast of Bellini’s “I Puritani,” which was heard on more than 500 radio stations and in 46 states. Instead, he began by speaking of the possible cuts — and noting that many of the radio stations carrying the broadcast would face serious cuts if the Corporation for Public Broadcasting were eliminated. “I think it’s really important that people be aware of this: The possibility of losing the arts on the radio, losing the arts on television, losing the arts altogether is very real if these cuts were to go through,” Mr. Gelb said.

Marie-Hélène Bernard, the president and chief executive of the St. Louis Symphony, said the orchestra had drafted a letter to its board members urging them to call their elected officials. “We asked them to let them know why it’s important,” she said.

And Andrew Kipe, the executive director of the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky, a highly regarded ensemble recovering from a recent bankruptcy, said that orchestra officials had already planned to go to Washington on March 20 for an advocacy day organized by Americans for the Arts, a network of cultural organizations, but that now the trip had taken on greater urgency. He said that the orchestra had received $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its Festival of American Music, and added that he hoped to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to explain why the orchestra is vital.

“When we get to D.C. next month, we will have some real facts and figures — on job creation, economic impact — besides just arguing that funding the arts is good because it’s a good thing,” Mr. Kipe said, adding that the arts had bipartisan support in Kentucky. “The return on a relatively small investment is pretty great.”..

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/arts ... ction.html
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:05 am

The Times speculates that Ivanka Trump might be an ally. There's good reason, as this story shows - mainly in her own words. She studied at the School of American Ballet as a child and danced in "The Nutcracker" when she was 8.

Might Ivanka Trump Speak up if Her Father Guts the Arts?
By ROBIN POGREBIN
FEB. 19, 2017

Ivanka Trump recently helped defend gay rights from a proposed executive order from her father, Donald J. Trump, that would have scrapped Obama-era L.G.B.T. protections. Now, with the White House drafting plans to eliminate the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, it is Ms. Trump who could emerge as a key player again, inasmuch as culture has been a rich part of her life.

Ms. Trump owns a few significant pieces of art — including works by Christopher Wool, Alex Israel and Wade Guyton — and is known to attend the ballet and museum events. As a child, she gave painting a shot and took piano lessons, but was probably most devoted to dance, performing in New York City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” at 8.

Those performances remain an indelible memory for her. Ms. Trump was enrolled in the School of American Ballet’s children’s division from the fall of 1989 to the spring of 1991, starting as a beginner in Girls I and progressing to Girls II. Those classes were taught primarily by the Russian ballet masters Helene Dudin, who died in 2008, and Antonina Tumkovsky, who died in 2007.

Ms. Trump danced in “The Nutcracker,” a New York holiday tradition, in December 1989 and December 1990, appearing in both years as Party Scene Girl and Angel. True, that was nearly 30 years ago. And no, Ms. Trump never did go on to become a Sugar Plum Fairy, though she did audition for “Les Misérables” (“It didn’t work out,” she told Us Weekly in 2015). But her daughter, Arabella, 5, seems to be following in her mother’s ballet steps. And while Ms. Trump declined to be interviewed about her cultural interests, she did offer this statement to The New York Times through a spokeswoman:
Ivanka Trump wrote:Ballet instilled me with a sense of discipline and focus from a young age. These traits created a strong foundation for me as a student and were later incredibly valuable as I set out in my professional career. Dancing inspired me with a lifelong appreciation for the arts, and I continue to have the greatest admiration for the beauty of dancers who exhibit both strength and grace.
In her book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” published by Touchstone in 2009 when Ms. Trump was just 27, she conveys a respect for the ballet school and a reverence for “The Nutcracker” that she once feared might be jeopardized by the attendance of Michael Jackson, who then lived one floor below her in Trump Tower:
Ivanka Trump wrote:Once, when I was around 8, I was fortunate enough to be admitted to the School of American Ballet, based in Lincoln Center. It was considered a great accomplishment to be accepted into this program, but I sometimes wonder if my application was helped along by my last name. Maybe, maybe not.

I was good but not great. Focused, but not as single-minded as some of my tutu-wearing peers. And quite possibly too tall to make it as a ballerina. In any case, we were very young and extremely full of our little dancer selves. Such prima donnas! And it wasn’t just the kids who took the program seriously. The instructors and choreographers approached each session as if the very future of American ballet rested on our performances. The highlight of our season was a performance of “The Nutcracker.” We rehearsed for months and months.
Jackson, as it turns out, was inspired by Tchaikovsky. “If you take an album like ‘Nutcracker Suite,’ every song is a killer, every one,” he told MTV News in 2007. “So I said to myself, ‘Why can’t there be a pop album where every [song is a killer]?’” Mr. Trump arranged to get him a ticket to “The Nutcracker.” This made his daughter — and her fellow cast members — thrilled but also concerned.
Ivanka Trump wrote:Somehow Michael heard about the looming ‘Nutcracker’ performance and expressed an interest in attending. It’s possible he was just being polite — but knowing Michael’s affinity for dance, I think it’s more likely that he was genuinely interested. So my father arranged to get him a ticket. When the day of the performance finally came around, it appeared that word had gotten out that Michael Jackson was planning to attend. That, too, was cool — until word got around that I had had something to do with it. Naturally, the kids were over-the-top excited. I was also excited, but less so as the performance approached. You see, one of the older dancers had the idea that we should each wear a single white glove on our left hand as we danced “The Nutcracker,” to honor Michael. Cute and harmless, right? But I didn’t see it that way, In fact, I was mortified. I was convinced that the sideshow would compromise the sanctity of “The Nutcracker” and that I would be singled out as the one to blame.

As it happened, the instructors shared my concern. In fact, they were furious, and demanded to know who was responsible for undermining their otherwise estimable production. The teenage dancer and her friends who’d actually concocted the idea were too cowardly to fess up. All the grown-ups were running around backstage, frantic and crazy in their terribly important way, and I was certain that one of them would decide that I was the person responsible for the mess. For a short-lived moment I wished like hell that I had been born into some other set of circumstances — far away from the spotlight I couldn’t help but think was aimed at me, even when it wasn’t. Happily, no one thought to blame me. The anger fizzled. We danced our little butts off.

“The Nutcracker” emerged unscathed. Life went on in our precious little corner of New York City. And now, looking back, it’s such a sweet, uniquely personal memory of such an iconic entertainer, even though at the time I tossed a whole lot of unnecessary adolescent angst into the mix.

P.S. Michael loved the show.
Ms. Trump has posted images and video highlighting Arabella’s interest in dance and took her to see the ballet at the Mariinsky Theater on a visit to St. Petersburg. Which invites the question: Will she also give her two little boys the opportunity to try tights and dance?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/arts ... -arts.html
John Francis

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by maestrob » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:26 am

Thanks for posting those two articles, JohnF. It's true that PBS gets roughly $1.37 per year per person from the government, but every dollar counts. I would hate to miss broadcasts from the MET, and I'm addicted to the Sunday night dramas (currently Victoria is a great hit, as was Downton Abbey). So far, PBS refuses to interrupt their programs for advertising, by showing the ads (VERY classy) during breaks between shows, they've managed to preserve their integrity. If that ends, and PBS becomes just another Bravo, I'll still watch, but I'd hate to put this era of great television behind me, after living since 16 years old with their present format.

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by lennygoran » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:46 pm

maestrob wrote:So far, PBS refuses to interrupt their programs for advertising, by showing the ads (VERY classy) during breaks between shows, they've managed to preserve their integrity. If that ends, and PBS becomes just another Bravo, I'll still watch, but I'd hate to put this era of great television behind me, after living since 16 years old with their present format.
Brian we love PBS too-still it's a pity they have to do so many fund raising drives. Regards, Len :(

John F
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:24 pm

They'll have to do even more if Trump kills all funding for PBS and CPB.
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by lennygoran » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:48 am

John F wrote:They'll have to do even more if Trump kills all funding for PBS and CPB.
Yes very sad-hope there isn't some way he could get his hands on the Smithsonian Channel? I see on Wiki there was this controversy with the station but don't quite understand it all. Regards, Len

"Controversy

In 2006 Carl Malamud of publishing and sharing non-profit Public.Resource.Org complained that private company Showtime and the publicly owned Smithsonian Institution were entering a contract to establish Smithsonian Networks without sufficient public disclosure.[16] Under the contract Showtime would be able to deny permission to other media producers wishing access to Smithsonian collections.[17] Documentarian Ken Burns said of this deal "I find this deal terrifying... It feels like the Smithsonian has essentially optioned America's attic to one company".[17]"

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by jserraglio » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:45 am

Trumpsketeers would not dare to touch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood! Do the rapscallions good to watch it once in a while.

John F
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:14 am

lennygoran wrote:In 2006 Carl Malamud of publishing and sharing non-profit Public.Resource.Org complained that private company Showtime and the publicly owned Smithsonian Institution were entering a contract to establish Smithsonian Networks without sufficient public disclosure. Under the contract Showtime would be able to deny permission to other media producers wishing access to Smithsonian collections. Documentarian Ken Burns said of this deal "I find this deal terrifying... It feels like the Smithsonian has essentially optioned America's attic to one company.
Irrelevant to our topic - the Smithsonian channel has nothing to do with the CPB or PBS, it's a commercial business. If the Republicans attempt to reduce or eliminate the Smithsonian Institution's funding, then we'd have another topic for discussion.

As for that 11-year-old controversy, the Smithsonian "contends that independent producers continue to have unchanged access to the institution and its collections as they had prior to the agreement. The process to gain access to film at the Smithsonian remains the same. Since January 2006, independent producers have made more than 500 requests to film in the museums and collections, and/or to use archival footage and photos." The article doesn't say that any of these requests have been refused.
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by lennygoran » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:25 pm

John F wrote:
lennygoran wrote: Irrelevant to our topic - the Smithsonian channel has nothing to do with the CPB or PBS, it's a commercial business. If the Republicans attempt to reduce or eliminate the Smithsonian Institution's funding, then we'd have another topic for discussion.
Thanks for the explanations-still the Smithsonian station has many great shows on the arts and I presume the Smithsonian gets its money the Federal government. The title of the thread is

The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by Beckmesser » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:34 pm

What's appalling is that the amount of money involved is an insignificant percentage of the federal budget. There is probably more waste in the Defense Department in a single day than the amount involved here in a single year. Obviously these agencies have been on the hit list of conservative politicians for many years and now they can kill them for good.

I recently heard the president of a large network of public radio stations in the Capitol District, Hudson Valley, and the Berkshires say that he has been anticipating this development for several years and they are taking steps to make their operations financially self-sufficient without government funding. His audience is generally affluent and politically liberal so he doesn't expect it to be too difficult. He was, however, concerned about public radio stations in the "red states" where listener support may prove insufficient to compensate for the loss of federal funding.

John F
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:55 am

Conservative Republicans have had the knives out for decades against CPB and PBS, which they consider to have a liberal bias, and the NEA, which they consider funds obscenity. As far as I can remember, the NEH hasn't been a right-wing target, but while cutting federal support for the arts, why not throw in support for serious intellectual work?

Thanks for the encouraging news. I believe radio stations pay the Met nothing to carry the broadcasts, but they agree to forego commercials during intermissions. This was why the Boston station opted out some years ago, making the broadcasts available to my alma mater, WHRB in Cambridge. This won't be a factor for public radio stations which don't air commercials anyway, at least not during their programs. I wonder how many self-supporting NPR stations there are in middle America, as opposed to stations supported by universities, colleges, and perhaps religious organizations. I guess we'll find out.
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by lennygoran » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:24 am

There's this article today from the opinion pages of the NY Times. We recently saw that show referred to in the article on Jerusalem-it was superb! Regards, Len

Why Art Matters to America

By THOMAS P. CAMPBELL FEB. 22, 2017


Four years ago, in a small warehouse in central China, a team of Chinese archaeologists showed me objects that they had unearthed from a nearby ancient tomb. Laid out on a folding table was an exquisite array of vases, ritual vessels and a set of heart-stoppingly beautiful silver gilt tigers and dragons that fit in the palm of my hand, perhaps part of a long-forgotten regal board game.

These finds were a keyhole through which we could glimpse the sophistication of the Han dynasty rulers, who, 2,000 years ago, conquered and united the enormous region that was to become modern-day China.

This week, curators and conservators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art are in Beijing working with Chinese colleagues to pack these and other objects for transportation to New York, where they will be featured in an exhibition this spring. Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the exhibition, “Age of Empires,” will teach our visitors about the origins of China, the superpower that is now playing a major role in the balance of world power and trade.

Although the N.E.A. grant was a small part of the exhibition’s overall budget, it was crucial in persuading others to add their support. Similar grants have helped the Met mount exhibitions on the art of Jerusalem, India, Korea, Islam, Africa and Afghanistan.

Sadly, it has become clear that the N.E.A. is, once again, under threat of being abolished, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities. The purported reason is cost savings.

All too often, art is seen as a “soft” subject, the first thing to be cut, whether by local school boards or the federal government, when money is tight. But looked at purely in dollars, it is a false saving. The N.E.A.’s budget is comparatively minuscule — $148 million last year, or 0.004 percent of annual federal discretionary expenditures — while the arts sector it supports employs millions of Americans and generates billions each year in revenue and tax dollars.

The United States has no ministry of culture. In this vacuum, the N.E.A., founded in 1965, serves three critical functions: It promotes the arts; it distributes and stimulates funding; and it administers a program that minimizes the costs of insuring arts exhibitions through indemnity agreements backed by the government. This last, perhaps least-known responsibility, is crucial. This fall, the Met will host a major exhibition on Michelangelo that will bring together masterpieces from across the world. The insurance valuation is a whopping $2.4 billion — not even our museum, the largest art museum in the nation, could come close to paying the premium for such coverage without the federal indemnity the N.E.A. makes possible.

The grants, of course, receive the most attention, if not as much as they deserve. Thousands are distributed in all 50 states, reaching every congressional district, urban and rural, rich and poor. The N.E.A. leverages its tiny budget by giving out grants that require recipients to raise matching funds from other donors. Grants average $26,000 and require a one-to-one match for every federal dollar.

While this may sound small, it reflects the shoestring budgets on which many local organizations depend. These grants sustain the arts in areas where people don’t have access to major institutions like the Met. They support live theater for schools; music, dance and jazz festivals; poetry and literary events; arts programs for war veterans; and, of course, museum exhibitions.

Claiming that N.E.A. cuts are purely for cost savings conceals a deeper, more partisan agenda. The last time the N.E.A. was this under fire was during the 1990s, when funding was challenged for artists and institutions that refused to conform to a narrow definition of propriety. Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, which showed Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs, and its director were even charged with obscenity.

I fear that this current call to abolish the N.E.A. is the beginning of a new assault on artistic activity. Arts and cultural programming challenges, provokes and entertains; it enhances our lives. Eliminating the N.E.A. would in essence eliminate investment by the American government in the curiosity and intelligence of its citizens. As the planet becomes at once smaller and more complex, the public needs a vital arts scene, one that will inspire us to understand who we are and how we got here — and one that will help us to see other countries, like China, not as enemies in a mercenary trade war but as partners in a complicated world.

In six weeks, dignitaries from nations around the world will gather at the Met for the opening of “Age of Empires.” And then, thousands of visitors will file into the museum, and they, too, will experience the thrill I had four years ago on that muddy flat in rural China. Even better, they will see these treasures in a historical and artistic context, so that when they leave they will have that much more understanding of China, from its ancient origins to its modern power.

Thanks, in part, to N.E.A. support.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/opin ... egion&_r=0

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:22 pm

How to Block Trump Arts Cuts? Groups Look for G.O.P. Help
By GRAHAM BOWLEY
FEB. 28, 2017

WASHINGTON — The phone calls and emails began coming in a few weeks ago to the Nebraska congressional delegation — all Republicans, and all potentially crucial to an expected fight over the very existence of the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities under President Trump. The offices of Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer and Representative Don Bacon heard from Erika Overturff, artistic director of Ballet Nebraska in Omaha. Morrie Enders, who runs the Lincoln Community Playhouse, called the senators and Representative Jeff Fortenberry. Andrew Norman, who promotes local music at a nonprofit called Hear Nebraska, put all five of the state’s federal lawmakers on speed dial. “I have been calling them once a day,” he said.

With Trump administration officials now preparing deep cuts in domestic spending, including the possible elimination of the endowments, Republicans from politically red states like Nebraska could be decisive in saving federal funds for the arts and humanities. Endowment leaders in recent years have sought to support cultural programs and make allies in those conservative-leaning parts of the country. And now, Representative Fortenberry, for one, as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, will have outsize influence over the budgets for the endowments.

While Democrats have long supported the endowments, the coming budget proposals from President Trump will test the sort of Republicans who have been the rescuers and defenders of arts spending during the decades-long efforts by conservatives to cut and even eliminate them. "In the past, moderate Republicans have played a pivotal role in these fights,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, the writers organization that is playing a central role in the lobbying. “Part of it is figuring out who is going to be the 2017 version of this.”

Among those friendly Republicans are Representative Leonard Lance of New Jersey, co-chairman of the House arts and humanities caucuses, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of continued funding and will be an important ambassador to other Republicans. In an interview, Representative Lance said that, whatever President Trump’s budget blueprint proposes, “it’s the appropriations process that matters. If it were to happen that it is not in the budget document, I would fight in the appropriation process to continue the funding,” he added.

Since federal agencies cannot lobby, the fight to save the N.E.A., the equally endangered National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting falls to advocacy groups like PEN, and the American Alliance of Museums, Americans for the Arts, and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. They plan to flood congressional offices here with hundreds of members in the next few weeks. “This would be crunch season for us even in a normal year,” said Ben Kershaw, director of government relations for the American Alliance of Museums, whose members are in Washington this week, “but this year we have kind of a lot going on.”

Little of the turmoil is evident in the hallways of the large modern building, south of the National Mall, that is home to the N.E.A. The agency’s chairwoman, Jane Chu, traveled to Florida last week to meet with a grant recipient, a routine event, and declined to discuss the pressures likely facing her agency, whose budget of $148 million is less than what was allotted two decades ago before big cuts. (As for the N.E.H., it receives about $150 million annually.)

Two transition team members from the Trump administration are working alongside the N.E.A.’s 156-member staff. But even as the agency’s supporters plan visits to Congress, the idea that it could be on a draft hit list of programs to be eliminated is still unconfirmed. “We have not heard,” Jessamyn Sarmiento, the N.E.A.’s director of public affairs, said in an interview. “We are not speculating on what may or may not be in the budget. We are going about our daily business.” The message from the humanities endowment, which occupies floors in the same building, is similar. “We are doing our work,” said Theola DeBose, its communications director.

Efforts to cut cultural funding reach back to the days of Ronald Reagan. In the mid-1990s, Newt Gingrich used the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and outrage among conservatives over some controversial art projects, to slash the two agencies’ budgets. Today, supporters say, the agencies cost so little that killing them would be empty symbolism. What’s more, after the earlier conflicts, they emphasize that they have participation and support across the country, including Republican strongholds like Nebraska.

“We went through this before, in 1995 and 1996,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York. “If they succeed, it will hurt rural America. New York will still have art shows. It will be rural stations that come off the air.”..

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/arts ... -help.html
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:47 am

Republicans Start Lining Up to Fight for the N.E.A. and N.E.H.
By MICHAEL COOPER and SOPAN DEB
MARCH 17, 2017

At first blush it’s like a dream come true for conservatives: Donald J. Trump has become the first president to formally propose eliminating federal programs for the arts and humanities, which have long been in the cross hairs of Republicans, and the threat is all the more real because the party also controls Congress. “The lord has been good to me late in life, my friend,” Patrick J. Buchanan, the conservative firebrand, said in an interview this week about the president’s assault on the National Endowment for the Arts, which Mr. Buchanan railed against during his insurgent run for president in 1992.

But even with one-party control in Washington, the fates of the arts endowment and the National Endowment for the Humanities are far from sealed. Several key Republican lawmakers are expressing support for the programs, which, since their near-death experiences during the culture wars of a generation ago, have taken pains to counter accusations of coastal elitism by making sure to distribute their grants widely across all 50 states. And the contours of the political battle itself have changed since those earlier fights in the 1980s and ’90s. The arguments then were over ideology, taste, free speech and the size of government; today they are about economic investment, federal priorities and how people feel about Mr. Trump remaking America to his liking.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who is the chairwoman of a crucial Senate appropriations panel that oversees the endowments, said in a statement, “I believe we can find a way to commit to fiscal responsibility while continuing to support the important benefits that N.E.A. and N.E.H. provide.” Her backing, like that of some other Republicans, comes after years of federal funds have flowed to artists in her state. Since 1995, the endowment has sent more than $18 million in grants to Alaska — a state which, partly because of its small population, ranks near the top when it comes to arts grants per capita.

Two other Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, signed their names last month to a letter urging continued support for the endowments, which together get $300 million a year. A spokeswoman for Senator Capito, who is on the appropriations committee, said Friday that she would “advocate for her priorities, including funding for the arts and humanities, which are important to our economy and communities.”

And there were warm words among some Republicans in the House as well. Representative Mark Amodei, a Nevada Republican who is on the House appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the endowments budget, said in a statement, “I support the present level of funding for these programs.” The chairman of that House panel is Representative Ken Calvert, a California Republican. He said in a statement that with the government approaching $20 trillion in debt, he would take “all sides into account” as he works on the budget — but added that he recognized that “the N.E.A. and N.E.H. have a lot of support from the American people and members of Congress.”

The fight for the future of the endowments differs from those in the past. When the Reagan administration considered eliminating the arts endowment, officials backed off after the actor Charlton Heston, a conservative who was close to the president, and powerful board members of cultural institutions made the case for the arts.
As the arts endowment came under attack during the culture wars of the 1990s — House Republicans voted to abolish it at one point — the agency changed the way it operated. The endowment abolished grants to individual artists, whose work could be provocative — and labeled offensive by some conservatives, causing free speech fights. And the agency began sending 40 percent of its money directly to states arts agencies to decide how to distribute.

The result is that the arts endowment now sends grants to every Congressional district in the nation: In 2016, the agency said, it recommended 2,400 grants in 16,000 communities. That could make it harder for members of Congress to kill it, since doing so would cost their districts money. But the new paradigm also means that the money is spread so thin, with the awarding of many small grants, that it could bolster the arguments of opponents of the endowment who say the lost money could be made up elsewhere.

Proponents of preserving endowment grants are increasingly speaking of them in terms that many Republicans can love — as investments that spur job creation; as public-private partnerships that award grants that are matched by private donations; and as programs that help returning veterans or people who live in rural communities. Representative Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican who is co-chairman of the Congressional Arts Caucus, said that as he tries to marshal support for the arts endowment among his colleagues, he is focusing on the jobs it supports not just in the arts sector but in tourism, restaurants and other fields as well. “I will try to be persuasive that there is a tremendous multiplier effect — that this brings in revenue to the government,” he said.

Mick Mulvaney, the president’s budget director, said at a news conference on Thursday that President Trump had “completely defensible” reasons for wanting to “defund” the two endowments, along with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “I put myself in the shoes of that steelworker in Ohio,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “The coal miner — the coal-mining family in West Virginia. The mother of two in Detroit. And I’m saying, ‘O.K., I have to go ask these folks for money and I have to tell them where I’m going to spend it.’ Can I really go to those folks, look them in the eye, and say, ‘Look, I want to take money from you and I want to give it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’? ”

(The corporation sent $11.8 million to radio and television stations in Ohio; $1.6 million to stations in West Virginia; and $9.1 million to stations in Michigan in 2014, the last year for which a state-by-state breakdown was available on its website.)

Members of Congress will hear next week from hundreds of activists who were already planning to gather in Washington on Monday and Tuesday to lobby for the arts. The announcement that the president is seeking to eliminate the endowments gave them a sense of added urgency, if not emergency. Robert L. Lynch, the president of Americans for the Arts, an arts advocacy group that has been a player in past battles to save the endowment, said, “We will hit every congressional office, every senatorial office, with our message.”..

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/arts ... gress.html
John Francis

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by jserraglio » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:20 am

Mr. Rogers Convinces Congress To Fund PBS http://www.scarymommy.com/mr-rogers-con ... ysideburns

Valerie Williams
In his gentle way, he tells the committee why PBS is so important

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA



In 1969, a soft-spoken man with an affinity for cardigan sweaters went before the Senate Commerce Committee to defend the funding of PBS. In his speech about what publicly funded TV programs could offer, he gave a stirring testimony about the importance of quality programming for kids.

His name was Fred Rogers. And we need his wisdom now more than ever.

The White House recently released its plan to eliminate funding for a slew of things we cherish, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS. PBS is the purveyor of high-quality children’s television shows, and back in the day, one of those shows was “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood”.

Footage of Rogers passionately explaining to lawmakers why publicly funded television is so much different than privately funded programming has recirculated in the wake of the Trump administration’s budget plan being released.

Watch it and weep. We definitely did.

Trump’s proposed cuts to PBS are a somewhat eerie instance of history trying to repeat itself. Rogers was testifying before Congress to defend the existence of PBS because President Nixon was threatening to slash a $20 million grant headed its way.

He opened by imploring Senator John Pastore, who was in charge of the hearing, to read his philosophical statement on the importance of his show. Initially, Pastore was gruff toward Rogers and seemed impatient. That didn’t last long.

Rogers detailed what his show accomplishes. “We deal with such things as the inner drama of childhood. We don’t have to bop someone over the head to make drama. We deal with such things as getting a haircut. Or the feelings about brothers and sisters, and the kind of anger that arises in simple family situations. And we speak to it constructively.”

“We’ve got to have more of this neighborhood expression of care. This is what I give. I give an expression of care everyday to each child to help him to realize that he is unique,” he told the assembled lawmakers.

Rogers made a plea for the importance of teaching kids how to handle their feelings, and explained how his show did just that. “I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.”

In defending Trump’s plans to cut funding for PBS, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says, “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

Huh. So, those single moms would rather pay for more nukes instead of educational programming for their kids? We’re going to go ahead and call bull crap.

I’m not a single mom, but I stayed home with my kids when they were little, which meant severe cuts to our budget. One of those cuts was our previously packed cable plan, so for a few years, PBS was all we had. I can say unequivocally that I didn’t mind $1.35 of my tax dollars (what PBS costs per citizen) funding this crucial endeavor, as my kids were pretty much raised on “Sesame Street” and “Super Why”.

It’s hard to overstate what PBS means, to young families in particular. Rogers was right then, and he still is now.

Partway through the speech, after Rogers explained his role on the show, Pastore said, “I’m supposed to be a pretty tough guy and this is the first time I’ve had goosebumps in two days.”

Rogers wrapped up by speaking the words to a song about how kids can deal with feelings of anger, and unless your heart is made of stone, it’s enough to bring a tear to your eye. By the time he finished speaking, the Senator was visbily moved. “Looks like you just earned the $20 million.”

If only Mr. Rogers could save us now.


Valerie Williams is a working mother with two school-aged children living in New York (not the cool part). She loves running, reading, snarking, and spending time with her family. Follow her on Twitter.

John F
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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by John F » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:06 am

Unfortunately, that was 14 years ago and Mr. Rogers is dead. Also, "Sesame Street" is now owned by Disney and running on HBO. Who today has the public following and the eloquence to defend PBS? I can't think of anybody.
John Francis

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Re: The Arts: fighting the Trump cuts

Post by jserraglio » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:40 am

Yes, "Mr. Rogers" is dead, but Fred Rogers lives on in his avatar, Daniel Tiger. As for Sesame, in any contest between Mick Mulvaney and Big Bird, I'll put my money on the canary that captivated Mick while he soiled his diapers. Soft power makes America great again.

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