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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: May 3, 2017 Perspective: Loss of arts funding would hurt us all
Port Townsend Leader

Candy Snively, a single mother, signed up to take the NEH-supported Clemente Course in the Humanities in Jefferson County because she thought it would be just “something interesting to do.” She entered the course with little ambition, but the Clemente Course, in which students read and discuss the work of the world’s greatest thinkers, transformed her.

“If you had asked me prior to Clemente if I would own a business and become a member of the middle class, I would have laughed,” she said. “I would have been happy to get a good waitressing job that I could use for gas, diapers and cigarettes. But today I am studying for my MBA at Washington State University.”

Similarly poignant examples of the positive impact of cultural programs, from free talks at public libraries to art education in classrooms, can be found throughout Port Townsend, our state and our country thanks to the NEA and the NEH.

Humanities Washington, our state’s NEH affiliate, and ArtsWA, its NEA affiliate, served more than 34,000 people in the Port Townsend area in 2016 with programs created by people in our state, for people in our state.

In addition to Centrum, the Port Townsend Public Library, Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend School District, Northwind Arts Center and Jefferson County Library have also benefitted from NEA/NEH support.

Humanities Washington and ArtsWA work extensively outside of major metropolitan areas. The loss of NEH and NEA funding would hit hard in rural areas, which tend to have fewer cultural resources.

Eliminating these federal agencies means programs designed to build community and alleviate the polarization that is tearing at the American social fabric are at serious risk.

Posted: May 3, 2017 Thanks to this agency, we identified an unknown copy of the Declaration of Independence
Washington Post

Two weeks ago, my research partner, Emily Sneff, and I had the good fortune to be able to announce to the world that we had come across a heretofore unknown parchment manuscript of the Declaration of Independence. On the basis of material evidence, we have been able to date the parchment to the 1780s. On the basis of contextual evidence, we have identified Founder James Wilson as its most likely commissioner. None of this would have been possible without the great gains achieved for scholarship over the past three decades by digitization projects, many funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Because of where we found it, we have dubbed this parchment “The Sussex Declaration.” It arrived, thrice-folded, at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester, England, in 1956, one of 77 miscellaneous documents deriving from a law firm that dates to the 18th century and that had long represented the Dukes of Richmond. We don’t know for sure yet that this parchment belonged to the dukes. We’re still working on that question. But we have solved the other key mysteries: when it was created, and what the context was of its creation.

Posted: May 2, 2017 Proposed Humanities Cuts Worry Schools, Community Programs
Nevada Public Radio, KNPR

Humanities explores the human experience — art, music, literature, history and more.

In Nevada, the National Endowment for the Humanities gives millions to colleges and community programs.

Now people who run those programs and use that money are worried because the Trump Administration has signaled it wants to cut those grants.

Christina Barr is the executive director of Nevada Humanities. She said the NEH gives her group money that it then distributes to “every corner of Nevada.”  Barr said grant money goes to everything from arts initiatives in Carson City to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas.  “We like to think that we’re omnipresent that we touch most of the cultural programming throughout our state,” she said.

Posted: May 2, 2017 Spending deal could mean relief for UVa, local groups
The Daily Progress

The increases would provide some relief for UVa, which received about $143 million in federal research funding from the NIH, as well as the biotechnology companies the university’s research has spawned.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts — which have provided support for programs in the Virginia Festival of the Book and the Virginia Film Festival — would receive $150 million — a $2 million increase over last year. Trump’s budget plan called for an end to federal funding for those agencies.

“We are grateful for the congressional support and hope this will continue in 2018,” said UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan in an email Monday. “Federal support from not only the NEH and the NEA, but also the NIH and the [National Science Foundation], is critically important to the success of the university’s mission.”

The deal is a promising sign for the Charlottesville-based Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, which draws about 21 percent of its budget from the NEH.

Posted: May 2, 2017 The Humanities Action Lab Awarded $310,000 Grant by National Endowment for the Humanities
Rutgers Today

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a $310,000 grant to the Humanities Action Lab (HAL), a coalition of 20 universities, including Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), collaborating to produce student- and community-curated public projects on pressing social issues. 

The funds will support public dialogues and local exhibits around HAL’s current project, States of Incarceration:  A National Dialogue of Local Histories, a traveling exhibit, web platform, and curricula focusing on mass incarceration, in Newark, NJ and 19 other communities. Today, the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world and at any other moment in its history. As a result, a massive number and wide range of people are involved in its prison system: from incarcerated people and their families to residents of prison towns to corrections personnel to consumers of prison-made goods and services. 

Posted: May 2, 2017 NEA, NEH May Receive Reprieve for Now, But 2018 Still Uncertain
BURNAWAY, Voice of the South

In March, it became evident that President Trump’s call for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting might not go his way when Republican lawmakers came out in support of the agencies, including Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins and Representatives Mark Amodei and Leonard Lance, as well as former Arkansas Governor and 2016 Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee.

Posted: May 2, 2017 Congress’s Budget Deal Includes Increases (!) For NEA, NEH
Arts Journal

Mind you, they’re not big increases – $2 million (1.33%) each for the NEA and NEH, and flat funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But this is a change from the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate the agencies entirely. “Like many of Trump’s planned initiatives for his first 100 days in office, however, this plan did not pan out.”

Posted: May 2, 2017 Here are the education-related policies proposed by Trump administration in first 100 days
The Diamondback (UMD)

Shaliah George, a junior communication major, said she is worried the budget cut will lead to increased tuition.

"This could mean less students will have access to higher education," George said, adding that students from lower-income homes may feel less motivated to continue their education if college tuition becomes too expensive. "We'll be seeing a lot of trickle-down effects from that."

Posted: May 2, 2017 The bipartisan budget plan is a temporary victory for common sense
The Washington Post / 5/1

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS have settled on a bipartisan spending plan to keep the government open for the next five months, and, to judge from the document, their priorities are not President Trump’s priorities.

To be sure, the $1.1 trillion measure includes $1.5 billion in new border-security money and exceeds previously enacted defense spending caps to the tune of $14.8 billion; Mr. Trump hailed both as victories for his agenda. But the president’s border wall gets not one dollar — indeed, Mr. Trump’s abandonment of a demand for funding was the concession that made this deal possible. Meanwhile, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Environmental Protection Agency, Pell Grants for college students and Community Development Block Grants were held essentially harmless, with respect to their fiscal 2016 spending levels. The National Institutes of Health gets a $2 billion increase. All were targeted for big cuts in Mr. Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget plan.

These results are a tribute to the Democrats’ skillful leveraging of their power, even as a minority in both houses; to the Republicans’ pragmatic fear of a politically costly partial government shutdown — and to the stubborn persistence of good old-fashioned political horse-trading, even under this supposedly disruptive president.

Posted: May 2, 2017 Udall On Interior And Environment Funding In Bipartisan Budget Agreement
Los Alamos Daily Post

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, released the following statement on the finalized bipartisan budget agreement to fund the government through September. 

“This bill is a strong, bipartisan agreement, and I thank lawmakers and staff on both sides of the aisle for their hard work to achieve a workable compromise. The deal funds key priorities for New Mexico and the nation, while preventing some of the president's disastrous budget cuts from becoming law.

“I am pleased that this bill increases funding for the Department of the Interior to conserve and maintain our treasured public lands and uphold our trust and treaty obligations to Indian Tribes. And, after the president called for devastating cuts to the EPA, I am glad that this agreement shields the agency from ongoing attempts to undermine our ability to protect clean air and water and public health. I am particularly proud to have fought to include $407 million for emergency firefighting needs. This will give the Forest Service the necessary funds to fight increasingly severe wildfires — which continue to threaten New Mexico and the Southwest — without having to raid important forest health and watershed protection funds needed to prevent the next catastrophic fire.

“The omnibus agreement ensures that the EPA will have the resources needed to effectively implement my landmark chemical safety reform law, which was enacted last year. As the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I strongly support this bill’s investment in programs and services that benefit Native Americans. The bill includes new funding for the Indian Health Service's efforts to treat substance abuse through detoxification centers, it will help make infrastructure improvements in Indian schools and hospitals, and it increases funding for initiatives to bolster Native arts.

“With the president proposing the complete elimination of the national endowments for the arts and the humanities, I am particularly proud to have worked to secure an overall increase in funding for both the NEA and the NEH. This bill’s strong investment in the arts and humanities will help fuel these engines of job creation in New Mexico and across the country.