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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: March 26, 2017 Local artists renounce federal budget
Traverse City Record-Eagle

A sense of uncertainty is growing in the local art community.

President Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal threatens to gut funding from a number of federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. And local leaders contend artistic and cultural projects could now be in jeopardy.

“We will not survive without the arts,” said Phil Murphy, the director of the Old Town Playhouse. “One of the greatest misunderstandings is that art is disposable. It helps to define our culture. … I look at the arts as part of our national soul.”

The total budget for both endowments rests at about $300 million, and the local slice of the pie is much smaller. The Old Town Playhouse, for example, collected about $2,600 in federal funding this year; larger operations like the Dennos Museum Center accepted about $100,000 over the last 15 years.

But Murphy asserts the potential impact could be far-reaching — especially in rural communities where artistic programs can lean more heavily on federal cash. More than 20,000 people attend shows at the Playhouse and those endowments help to subsidize their operations, he said.

“It’s effectively hitting millions and millions of taxpayers,” Murphy added.

Posted: March 25, 2017 What are the Humanities and why should we care?
Delaware State News

The Humanities are often called “the thinking arts.” They include history, literature, philosophy, comparative religion, archaeology, architectural history, anthropology, ethics, folklore and folklife, jurisprudence, languages, linguistics, political science, and the history, criticism and theory of art.

This may sound pretty effete, until you realize that the Port Penn Marshland Festival; public programs studying Delaware’s role in the Underground Railroad; oral history interviews with Vietnam vets; and library and community programs throughout the state from Laurel to Lewes, Harrington to Hockessin, Felton, Delaware City, Stanton, Claymont, and beyond, have all benefited from Humanities funding.

Posted: March 25, 2017 Why humans need the humanities
The State

By seeking our reflection in the world’s great writers, artists and philosophers, we can begin to comprehend the human condition. Writing to his nephew on the 100th anniversary of Emancipation, in the essay “My Dungeon Shook,” James Baldwin warned against people who are blind to the reality of others. “It is the innocence which constitutes the crime,” he said. Innocence stemming from a lack of self-knowledge is not blameless; on the contrary, Baldwin says, it can be dangerous. But he also told his nephew, “If you know whence you came, there is no limit to where you can go.” There is strength in an awareness of one’s own place in history.

As Americans, we are fortunate to have support for the humanities at the state and federal level. The National Endowment for the Humanities funds scholars, documentary filmmakers, universities, libraries, museums and archeological sites, all with 0.003 percent of the federal budget — the equivalent of someone who makes $50,000 a year spending $10. The endowment also helps to support state-affiliated humanities councils, which in 2016 put on more than 55,000 programs and conferences across the country. S.C. Humanities supports writers, speakers, libraries, filmmakers, festivals, conferences, workshops, traveling exhibits, student research fellows and an annual Humanities Festival. How much poorer we would be and how much less we would know of ourselves without the contributions of S.C. Humanities.

Posted: March 25, 2017 NEH cuts could impact Va. book festival
Fredericksburg.com

The Virginia Festival of the Book, which wraps up Sunday, draws tens of thousands of people to Charlottesville each year. Organizers say proposed cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities wouldn’t affect next year’s festival, but could leave them scrambling for new sources of income.

President Donald Trump proposed budget doesn’t include any funding for the NEH or the National Endowment for the Arts. Staff members at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, which organizes the book festival, said they’re not too worried yet, but are looking for contingency plans.

About 21 percent of the Virginia foundation’s $6.2 million budget last year came from NEH, according to its annual report. The foundation uses its association with NEH to leverage more funding from outside donors, who help support the Festival of the Book.

Posted: March 24, 2017 How Organizations Targeted by the Trump Budget Are Pushing Back
PR Week

To that end, both the NEA and NEH are assembling and supplying infographics and factsheets for media requests, which have skyrocketed since January 17, when The Hill broke a story about possible budget cuts to the two groups.

Given the increased interest, the NEH has launched a weekly newsletter called Grantee Spotlight for its email list, which has thousands of recipients. The newsletter features stories of how grants have helped recipients, according to Theola DeBose, the group’s director of comms. The organization is also cross-promoting the content on its social media platforms, including Medium and Snapchat.

"We’re also stitching together a video showing grantees immersed in humanities work to show the public what the humanities look like," DeBose says.

Posted: March 24, 2017 Amid the STEM frenzy, humanities and ‘human-ness’ matter
San Francisco Chronicle

By now, you’ve surely heard about the Trump administration’s budget plan that would eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Of the two programs, which were established in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is better known and more beloved. People of all political stripes go to museums, and everyone’s watched an episode of “Sesame Street.”

But the work of the NEH is no less vital, especially if you believe — as I do — that the history of who we are as human beings is important.

“The humanities are the history of humanness,” said Priscilla Couden, the executive director of the Contra Costa County Historical Society. “It involves our culture and our history. Both the arts and the humanities are attuned to the culture of being alive, but one is historical and the other is aesthetic.”

Posted: March 24, 2017 Laurie Norton Moffatt: Save America's treasures: Preserve the endowments
The Berkshire Eagle

President Trump has proposed elimination of funding for arts, culture and public broadcasting, as well as for museums, libraries and archives. Let's look at one example of how shortsighted such an action would be.

Norman Rockwell Museum received 18 federal grants exceeding $1.9 million from 2005-2017 from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Archives and Records Administration and Save America's Treasures program. We are proud to have received these competitive peer reviewed grants as they attested to the importance and quality of the museum's work as well as made real investment in our programs and in turn, in millions of people's lives.

Posted: March 24, 2017 Laurie Norton Moffatt: Save America's treasures: Preserve the Endowments
The Berkshire Eagle

President Trump has proposed elimination of funding for arts, culture and public broadcasting, as well as for museums, libraries and archives. Let's look at one example of how shortsighted such an action would be.

Norman Rockwell Museum received 18 federal grants exceeding $1.9 million from 2005-2017 from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Archives and Records Administration and Save America's Treasures program. We are proud to have received these competitive peer reviewed grants as they attested to the importance and quality of the museum's work as well as made real investment in our programs and in turn, in millions of people's lives.

 Reached millions

These funds were invested in preservation and access to museum collections, national touring exhibitions, publication and research, and educational programming about Norman Rockwell and American illustration art that have touched millions of lives across America and abroad.

Posted: March 23, 2017 Will Donald Trump keep the White House petition site alive?
The Verge

Want the White House to tell you whether or not it’s pardoning a whistleblower? Or take a position on modifying the technology you own? Or explain why America can’t build a Death Star? For the past six years, you could do all these things through We the People, an imperfect but valuable petition system that gave ordinary people a direct line to the president. But we’re over two months into the Trump administration, and it’s not clear whether the system is still active, or what its future holds. 

We the People survived Trump’s White House website reorganization, unlike several other government pages, but it’s not in great shape. You can create an account, publish a new petition, or sign an existing one. The page for responses, however, seems to have been removed. Old petitions are accessible through the Obama administration archive, but there’s no sign that Trump’s White House will respond to the seven petitions that reached their 100,000-signature threshold after he took office, including a request to release Trump’s tax returns, two petitions to preserve the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts, and one to let American farmers grow industrial hemp. A White House spokesperson did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Posted: March 23, 2017 Trump’s Arts Funding Cuts Will Take Us Back To The 1950s. Good
The Federalist

That’s right, we’re about to go the way of the Romans because we’re not spending enough on bread and circuses.  Partly, this is the same Kabuki theater we get every year, in which anything that is not a massive increase is portrayed as a draconian cut. But the main reason people are upset about this budget is because it targets programs that are pretty insignificant in terms of actual spending but are culturally and politically important to anyone who is left of center: public funding for broadcasting, art, and the humanities.

The Trump budget proposes to zero out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. That’s why Nick Kristof thinks this is the end of civilization, because unless the federal government shunts money to these activities, we all know that they will completely disappear. There will be no more art, no more ideas, no more broadcasting.