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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: April 20, 2017 Henry Street Settlement Receives $360K Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities
Bowery Boogie, NY

The  Henry Street Settlement recently won a substantial grant from theNational Endowment for the Humanities NEH). Indeed, $360,000 –  the largest non-media grant awarded – has been earmarked to support the settlement’s latest venture, “The House on Henry Street: Settlements, Public Health and Social Reform.” It’s multi-platform exhibition that will “explore social activism, urban poverty and public health through the lens of Henry Street’s history.”

The focal point will be a permanent interactive exhibition in the Settlement’s historic headquarters at 265 Henry Street. They’re also working to implement a web-based component with curriculum materials for both high school and college teachers, to help expand on the history and its interpretation, plus a walking tour app for mobile devices, which will continue the story on the streets of the Lower East Side. A public historian will be hired for 18 months to create public programs of interest to the Settlement community.

Posted: April 20, 2017 #91, we need the NEA and NEH to know how to imagine ourselves as a nation
Media Praxis

This #100hardtruths was shared with me by my friend and mentor, Laura Wexler, the esteemed feminist scholar of photography and Principal Investigator of the NEH-supported Photogrammar Project:

“Fake news has it that we must sacrifice the NEA and the NEH for better stewardship of our national wealth and interests.  It is claimed that these agencies are wasteful and unnecessary. But in fact, they are among the most important investments our society can make. By their means, we increase our chances to understand who we are, and thus to envision how we might better proceed. Their conceptual roots are in the alphabet agencies of the Great Depression when a staggering economic crisis called for a political shift in the way that the United States cared for its population, in some ways not unlike the present moment.

A few hours after his inauguration, Franklin Roosevelt swore in his entire cabinet en masse, so as to hit the ground running. In the next 105 days, in the depths of the emergency, in un-ending special session, Congress created and passed the Emergency Banking Act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, the Truth-in-Securities Act, the Glass-Steagall Act and the National Industrial Recovery Act. The new president was able to persuade millions that they had “nothing to fear, but fear itself.” In all, there were 15 major bills. It was a vigorous and astonishing three and a half months.

Posted: April 20, 2017 Government relations team promotes vital research
Northwestern Now

Office of Government Relations makes case for University causes, values in Washington.  Through the Government Relations office and partner organizations, Northwestern works across the board to protect relevant areas of federal funding.

Colleges and universities make good use of the distributed power of Congress, and the committee structure by which Congress does its work. There are 535 members of Congress, and they divide their work among two houses, 41 committees and 174 subcommittees.

One subcommittee in each house has responsibility for National Institutes of Health (NIH) appropriations, another for the National Science Foundation appropriations and yet another for those at the Department of Defense. One subcommittee works on student financial aid, and yet another has oversight on tax issues and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Colleges and universities divide up responsibility for reaching out to the committee members of both parties.

Posted: April 20, 2017 Michigan Read selects literary work for next event
The Monroe News

 “X: A Novel”, a fictionalized account of the early years of Malcolm X, has been announced as the book for the 2017-18 Great Michigan Read.

A statewide panel of teachers, librarians, community leaders and book lovers select the Great Michigan Read every two years.

The Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read is a literary program for the entire state with a focus on a single book

Great Michigan Read partners receive free reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, bookmarks and other supplemental materials. Schools, libraries, and select nonprofits will be eligible for free copies of the book.

The Great Michigan Read is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and by sponsors Meijer, the Historic Ford Estates, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Library of Michigan, Detroit Public Library Foundation, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, Sarah Jury, MSU Federal Credit Union, and Michigan Radio.

Posted: April 20, 2017 Spring in Flagstaff: Perspectives shared
Arizona Daily Sun

Today I received an email that the National Endowment for the Humanities will suspend their project grants program since they have not received expected funding for this year and most likely will not receive funding next year. I talked about the National Endowment for the Arts in a previous letter but not the NEH. I don’t know as much about the NEH. I do know it supports and funds programs in Arizona like University of Arizona Poetry Center’s collection of recorded readings, NAU’s “Footprints of Ancestors: Intergenerational Learning of Hopi History and Culture.” The University of Arizona and the Hopi Tribe of Arizona collaborated on “Moquis and Kastilam: The Hopi History Project” thanks to the NEH. 

Let’s face it, not all of us are interested in museums. We don’t all want to know about the history of the Hopi. We don’t all love art or humanities, or even humans, for that matter. But you don’t have to go to plays and the opera to understand why it’s important for civil society: perspective, like the kind my friend Stacy gave me, is hard to come by. Perspective is what museums and plays and symphonies and books provide. You don’t have to access those books or museums to benefit from those perspectives shared. You don’t have to see everything and do everything and know everything to know that other points of view exist. Without the presence of art and culture, perspective as a concept dies. No one, after a rough day, gets up off the ground and dusts themselves off. Without the arts and humanities, it’s like spring in Flagstaff forever. Windy, rough, dusty, allergenic, cold when it seems hot, hot when it seems cold, you never know what to wear or how many layers or if you need to batten down all the hatches. Without the prospect of the different perspective of summer, you wouldn’t know to wait it out, that things will get better.

By: Nicole Walker is an associate professor at Northern Arizona University, and is the author of Quench Your Thirst with Salt and a collection of poems, This Noisy Egg. She edited, with Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, and is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment from the Arts. The thoughts expressed here are hers alone and not necessarily those of her employer.

Posted: April 19, 2017 To Depoliticize Art, Trump Has To Do More Than End Federal Endowments
The Federalist

Shut up and go fund yourself. That’s President Trump’s message to arts organizations in his proposal for eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. The College Art Association is not amused. Declaring “complete and total opposition” to the proposal, it offers toolkits to members to arm them for a fight. The CAA kvetches:

[The proposal] appears to be a deliberate, ominous effort to silence artistic and academic voices, representing a potentially chilling next step in an apparent effort to stifle and eradicate oppositional voices and cultural output from civic life. By eliminating the support for these agencies, the government undermines the unifying potential of the arts, culture, and education that encourages and nurtures communication and positive discussion.

Posted: April 19, 2017 The Costs Of War — At Home
The Huffington Post

INow, we know.  According to Todd Harrison, an expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the replacement cost for the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles recently dumped on an air base in Syria: $89 million.

In that context, $89 million is a laughably small sum. Still, just for the hell of it, let’s think about what a figure like that might mean if spent domestically rather than on a strike of more or less no significance in Syria.  That sum is, for instance, well more than half of the $149 million budget for the National Endowment for the Arts and also of the $149 million budget for the National Endowment for the Humanities, both of which the Trump administration would like to wipe out. It represents one-fifth of the $445 million the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, also on Trump’s chopping block, gets from the federal government.  That single strike also represents about a thirtieth of the $2.6 billion his administration wants to cut from the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and about a sixtieth of the $5.8 billion that it plans to excise from the budget of the National Institutes of Health. 

So each time those Tomahawks are launched, or American planes or drones take off on their latest missions over Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, or Somalia, or the next batch of U.S. troops heads for Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or elsewhere in the Greater Middle East and those millions of dollars start to add up to billions and finally trillions, just think to yourself: that’s the arts, the sciences, public health, and environmental safety that we’re knocking off.

Posted: April 19, 2017 Poll: Border Wall Fight Should Not Prompt Government Shutdown -
Roll Call

Trump has also proposed to eliminate all federal funding for public broadcasting and arts agencies, but that didn’t draw much support in the poll. The targets are the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Forty-nine percent of respondents either oppose somewhat or oppose strongly Trump’s proposal, including 35 percent who oppose that idea strongly and 14 percent somewhat. There are 33 percent who support such cuts either strongly (18 percent) or somewhat (15 percent). But another 18 percent are unsure.

Asked which federal agency they’d choose to eliminate if required, the top pick was the Department of the Interior, at 16 percent.

But people are widely split on the question, with the Department of Education (13 percent) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (12 percent) the next runners-up

Posted: April 19, 2017 Sen. Whitehouse takes solace in observing checks, balances at work in capital
thewesterlysun.com

An unprecedented number of constituents have contacted U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse since the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

Through phone calls, letters and email, a variety of concerns have been raised at a pace that was initially more than triple what the two-term Democrat from Rhode Island has been accustomed to receiving. The topics include the nation’s approach to climate change under Trump, the president’s proposed budget, worries among the state’s Latino population that deportation squads could be dispatched, and fears that bombast aimed at North Korea could lead to war.

“They’re scared and they’re anxious. They want to see their values respected and stood up for,” Whitehouse said.

Posted: April 19, 2017 National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities may end
The News-Gazette, IL

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities were created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Trump has pledged to cut the NEA and NEH from the federal budget in order to save $300 million. Read Caroline Elboar's political report (along with additional reading that can be accessed by links) at http://tinyurl.com/kxwhrkr. Hopefully "Congress will take the time to say, 'Hey, wait a second. We need these cultural elements to our society.'"