NEH in the News
Dylan Skolnick, co-director of the Cinema Arts Centre on Long Island, New York, who came up with the idea along with Adam Birnbaum, director of film programming at the Avon Theatre Film Centre in Connecticut, told Al Jazeera that the Trump administration's "undermining of the concept of facts and the demonization of foreign enemies...really resonate in 1984."
"There's a central line from the book about the freedom to say that two plus two equals four, even when the government is telling you that two plus two equals five," he said.
"No one is suggesting that we're living in Orwell's world," Skolnick said. "But the road to that world is people just becoming disengaged and allowing their government to do whatever it wants."
To that end, he added, the screening day is "designed to get people to be talking and discussing and active in the political conversation that is happening in America right now—and throughout the world, it turns out."
Theaters that charge admission will be donating a portion of the proceeds to local charities and organizations, "or using the proceeds for the purposes of underwriting future educational and community-related programming," according to a statement.
In addition to its war on science and rampant conflicts of interest, the Trump administration has threatened to decimate funding for cultural institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
During World War II, some American leaders in the fields of art restoration, architecture and museum management joined the U.S. military to help save millions of paintings, sculptures and buildings from being destroyed by the Nazis. These “Monuments Men” understood that these works were the culmination of centuries of civilization. As Winston Churchill said when asked to cut funding to the arts: “Then what are we fighting for?”
After the war, some of the Monuments Men helped establish the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities because they believed that the arts improve the quality of our lives. They also impact economics. Studies show that places where artists have settled have higher real estate values, more tourism, and increased local economic activity, resulting in a more vibrant community attractive to new residents and businesses.
Our country needs all the arts to enrich the overall quality of our lives. The National Endowment for the Arts should not be cut from our nation’s budget. If the Monuments Men risked their lives (and a few were killed) for mankind’s culture, then we should be able to spend a few dollars for its support and protection.
The Arizona Humanities Council announced on Thursday, March 30, that it is suspending its project grants temporarily until further notice.
That’s because most of Arizona Humanities’ funding comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities (or NEH, for short).
The NEH is funded by the federal government, but Congress has yet to approve its 2017 budget. And President Donald Trump is hoping to eliminate the NEH altogether.
Hence, the funding dilemma.
“Unfortunately, we cannot award funds that we have not, and potentially may not, receive,” wrote Brenda Thomson, executive director for Arizona Humanities, in the announcement.
A statewide 501(c)3 nonprofit organization started in 1973, Arizona Humanities is one of 56 NEH affiliates. Its programs promote understanding of the human experience, through partnerships with cultural, educational, and community groups throughout the Arizona.
“Funding from the NEH is crucial to our work,” Thomson says.
And the math backs it up.
In a budget plan released by the United States government, four agencies are to have their combined $971 million budgets eliminated by 2018.
These agencies are: the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The cuts to the CPB and NEA will affect a number of public radio broadcasting stations funded all over the U.S., including KTTZ-FM, Texas Tech’s Public Broadcasting station, which has served the South Plains area for more than 30 years.
“If funding for the CPB is cut, or even eliminated, there will be varying levels of stress,” Clinton Barrick, station director of KTTZ-FM, said. “It’s going to create a lot of headaches, and I will have to make a lot of hard choices about programing I’d rather not have to make.”
KTTZ-FM will lose the 12-13 percent of its funding it currently receives from CPB, which is not enough of a deficit to take the station off the air, he said. However, small-market stations will have a much more difficult time.
Scotland County Democratic Party Chairman Walter Jackson said Congress should ignore the president budget priorities. “President Trump is going to hurt our economy by making drastic and unneeded cuts to programs that have proven to be effective in building a smarter and stronger economy,” Jackson said.
To characterize Trumps first couple months as tumultuous would be an understatement for the ages. The president’s relentless attacks on the media and his provable lies to the press have begun to erode the credibility of his administration. He hasn’t slowed down since his campaign in attacking anyone who critiques or challenges his beliefs. The most frightening fact of it all is that he’s now the leader of the free world; not to mention the fact that the FBI is investigating a sitting president only three months into his term.
President Trump’s proposed federal budget might make for good political theater, thanks to headline-grabbing proposals to eliminate everything from Americorps to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to the National Endowment for the Humanities. But this is token austerity masquerading as fiscal discipline, since the agencies Trump has targeted make up only a tiny fraction of federal spending.
The real potential savings would have to come from entitlement reform, something the president doesn’t want to touch. Instead Trump has asked Congress to kill agencies that have one big thing in common. In one way or another, these federal initiatives promote brainpower, which America needs more than ever to compete in the global marketplace.
With control of both elected branches of the federal government, Republicans have an opportunity to show whether they can get the nation's finances in order after complaining about Obama-era spending and borrowing for eight years. On the heels of an unsuccessful bid to repeal and replace Obamacare, whether they can agree sufficiently to avoid a government shutdown will say a lot about their ability to govern.
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez said, “The funding provided by NEH will reaffirm and support Henry Street’s longstanding commitment to bringing the humanities to underserved communities…Henry Street has a long track record of expanding educational opportunity in our neighborhood and this grant will help further that mission.”
It is, of course, an anxious time for social service and arts organizations nationwide, since the Trump administration is threatening to de-fund many of the agencies that support their work, including the NEH.
Wyoming arts and humanities leaders are concerned about President Donald Trump’s proposed elimination of two federal agencies that support cultural programs. The budget plan announced in March suggests eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wyoming and other rural states would most feel the cuts because they’re less likely to receive funding elsewhere, according to state arts advocates. They say the cuts would undermine the state’s economy and its arts and education sectors as well as the fabric of communities.