The new president of the United States threatens to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities altogether, gutting what public funding remains for the WVHC. In some states, the donations of private individuals might save their humanities programming; I suspect in West Virginia it will not be enough. West Virginians will lose a valuable resource, and its children will grow up knowing much less about the history, culture and values of their state.
Trump intends to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and privatize the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, the government entity that partially funds both NPR and PBS. This is a political strategy that devalues not just the arts, but Democracy itself. And it’s really not about the money. The entire budget for the NEA, for example, is less than what we, the people, are spending to fund the separate living arrangements for Donald and Melania.
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.
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.
Communities that were once struggling economically have rebounded through developing the arts in their areas. Museums, musical groups, history and humanities programs, annual festivals and creative arts projects not only bring cultural and employment opportunities for residents, they attract and hold the attention of people looking to relocate.