When the White House issued its first proposed budget of the new administration in March, among the lines decreases from previous years were the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Both had been cut from $148 million, to $0.
The Monadnock Region is known for its arts and culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts is not a small reason why. In 2016, over $70,000 of federal funds went straight into the 16 towns of the Ledger-Transcript coverage area. That does not include the state arts funding coming to the region, and private fundraising inspired by federal support.
“It would be devastating for us, and devastating I think for the field,” Ginnie Lupi, director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, said. “It’s a scary time.”
She said this state is unique in that most of its grant money comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA, and a smaller percentage comes from the state. That money is granted from the NEA to the New Hampshire Council, which then distributes grants to local people and institutions.
The council will receive $719,400 from the NEA in 2017, good for about 70 percent of its budget, according to Lupi. This is in part, she said, because the NEA favors communities like New Hampshire.
Nationally, the humanities are under attack. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget eliminates all funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which since 1965 has been vital to the advancement of humanities research and teaching in American universities, schools, and public spaces.
Further, much of what we hear about higher education these days, particularly in Wisconsin, is that public universities should increasingly serve the narrow interests of employers and they aren’t worth paying for if they don’t.
However, the White House inadvertently highlighted the dire national need for education in the humanities. Speaking on behalf of the president, spokesman Sean Spicer declared that “Hitler … didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
This claim is objectively untrue: Adolf Hitler deployed as weapons two chemical compounds: carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide (in Zyklon B). With these weapons, the Nazis murdered millions of innocent Europeans (including Jews, Poles, Roma, and LGBT people) in extermination camps.
When confronted with the fact that his statement was factually untrue and demonstrative of either ignorance of key events in history or deliberate falsehood, Spicer apologized for being “insensitive.” Yet he did not acknowledge that the statement was untrue.
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) today announced the awarding of a $193,080 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to help preserve, restore and digitize 800 oral histories of WWII Japanese American veterans contained in GFBNEC’s Hanashi Oral History program.
The 800 oral histories, which represent about 2,000 hours of moving-image playback, will be selected from nearly 1,200 interviews in the Hanashi archives. The histories chronicle the experiences of Japanese American veterans who served in segregated units during WWII, many of whom had families imprisoned in U.S. incarceration camps. The Hanashi program represents the largest compilation of such Nisei veteran interviews, and includes stories from those who served in combat and intelligence units in the European and Pacific Theatres.
“This grant from NEH will allow us to preserve these priceless histories of our Nisei veterans, and to better organize and index them so that they can be shared with scholars, researchers and the public for years to come,” Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said. “These stories speak to the courage, selflessness and patriotism of our Nisei vets in helping to protect our democracy. Today, their examples can be used to inform public debate and policy as we discuss important issues such as tolerance, social justice and equal protection under the law.”
Bravos to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for making an appearance at the World Awareness Children’s Museum in Glens Falls to draw attention to the elimination of federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. This is one of those times where we won’t know what we’ve lost until it’s gone. It was further encouraging to hear Rep. Elise Stefanik has also protested Trump’s cuts and that State Sen. Elizabeth Little was also on hand with her granddaughter to support Gillibrand’s opposition to the funding cuts.
Washington State University Vancouver on Monday announced its 2017 awards for research, student achievement and teaching.
Candice Goucher, professor of history, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence, according to a WSU Vancouver news release. The award is given to a faculty member performing “exemplary research.
Goucher’s research focuses on African history and culture, and has been recognized for her writing and film about African foodways, metallurgy and culture. She is also a founder of the Center for Social and Environmental Justice at WSU Vancouver.
Goucher’s work has been recognized by the World History Association, the Society for Visual Anthropology, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Huntington Library. Her 2014 book “Congotay! Congotay!” won the National and World Gourmand Awards for best book on Caribbean food.