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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: March 23, 2017 Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin museums in Philadelphia closed by Trump administration hiring freeze
The World Socialist Web News

The Trump administration has enacted a hiring freeze on government agencies such as the National Park Service (NPS) and has proposed a 12 percent cut to the Department of the Interior’s budget, under which the NPS functions. The freeze and threatened budget cuts have already prompted the closure of historic and cultural attractions.

Independence National Historic Park, located in historic Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States, has been forced to close seven sites, including some prestigious places such as the Declaration House, where American Revolutionary Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, exhibits at founding father Ben Franklin’s home and print shop, and the house of the Polish-Lithuanian military leader, Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

Amenities near Independence Hall, including bathrooms, have been shut down because the NPS can’t hire any workers to clean them. Visitors, including the elderly and children, will now be directed to bathrooms that may be located at considerable distances from the sites they are visiting.

Citing NPS sources, Bob Skiba, former president of Philadelphia Tour Guides, told Philly.com that the hiring freeze was the main cause of the closings, and that it is not yet clear whether they will be temporary or permanent.

“When a group comes to the mall, people spend an hour and a half to two hours on tours—and as a tour guide, when I bring people around, I’m not just showing them the sites. I’m telling them stories,” he said. “And [now] I don’t have pieces of the story available.”

Posted: March 23, 2017 Defund the National Endowment for the Arts — for Art’s Sake
The National Review

The sooner we are done with the Medicis of mediocrity, the better.   Of course we should kill the National Endowment for the Arts — not because we don’t care about art, but because we do. The ladies and gentlemen of the NEA are the Medicis of mediocrity, and the sooner we are done with them the better. The case against the NEA is not that abolishing it will save the federal government a tremendous amount of money. It won’t. The NEA’s budget is, relatively speaking, chickenfeed — $148 million this year. (Which is literally less than Tyson spends on chickenfeed, if you were wondering.) We are not going to balance the budget on cuts — even cuts of 100 percent — to the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and foreign aid. About 80 percent of the federal budget is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health-care programs, national security, and interest on the debt. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t pay attention to the little things, but our fiscal problem is far larger than the NEA and similar programs.

Posted: March 23, 2017 Trump budget causes concern
The Courier

Our concern is the budget primarily puts the burden on those most in need of assistance and, ironically, the working-class Americans in rural districts who boosted Trump’s candidacy.  The National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts would get the ax, affecting community orchestras and other cultural groups. Library and museum funding would end.

Posted: March 23, 2017 Fighting to Give Everyone Access to Arts and Culture
KQED TV

The fight to save arts and culture funding moved to the steps of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday.  Approximately 200 arts leaders chanted “culture is power,” and rallied on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as for a bump in city funding.

Posted: March 23, 2017 Wait Wait... Don't Cut Me!
PR Week

After President Trump released his budget proposal revealing severe cuts to arts and public media, a campaign from the Creative Majority PAC began the fight to save funding.

The Wait Wait... Don't Cut Me! campaign -- named after the NPR game show "Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!" -- launched Friday with a microsite and video. It was created by Creative Majority PAC, Revolution Messaging, and Los Angeles-based PR agency TaskForce.

The video features a puppet calling the White House -- a parody of a Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign ad -- because she can’t remember how to count. It is supposed to serve as a reminder that many people grew up watching free educational TV on PBS.

"This is way more devastation than just the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS -- it is all of the arts and all the humanities," said Scott Goodstein, cofounder of Creative Majority PAC and CEO of Revolution Messaging. "We feel it's important that these programs are federally funded, so young kids, no matter their economic background or parents’ income levels, have the ability to learn how to count and how to dream."

The budget proposal released last week called to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and completely cut federal funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which runs PBS and NPR.

Posted: March 23, 2017 Democracy Demands Wisdom In Its Citizens
LA Progressive

Conservative Republican politicians don’t believe that “democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens”. They attack the findings of geology, evolutionary biology, and climate science. They support the spread of fake news and promote alternative facts. They disparage the media in general. There is nothing new about the attacks on truth and knowledge by the Trump administration except its shamelessness.

Let’s go back to the words of the Congress in 1965, a time when Americans also wanted our country to be great. “The world leadership which has come to the United States cannot rest solely upon superior power, wealth, and technology, but must be solidly founded upon worldwide respect and admiration for the Nation’s high qualities as a leader in the realm of ideas and of the spirit”.

Posted: March 22, 2017 Trump Budget Would Imperil Southern Festival of Books
Nashville Scene

Humanities Tennessee was founded in 1973 — it was known then as the Tennessee Committee for the Humanities — as a state affiliate of the NEH that was completely dependent on federal funds. Over the years, the organization has grown and increased the amount of money it raises on its own. But it still relies on its annual allowance from the NEH, which it reallocates to a number of local programs around the state. It’s one of 56 similar organizations operating in every state and territory, each of them operating on shoestring budgets of varying strengths. 

“[Trump’s proposed budget] would be devastating to us, but it wouldn’t destroy us right away, for sure,” says Humanities Tennessee’s executive director, Tim Henderson. “But we do have a lot of projects we run that would likely be put on hiatus.”

Posted: March 22, 2017 Arts, humanities are needed more than ever
The Berkshire Eagle

It is sadly ironic that at this moment when our society needs the humanities and the arts more than ever, our nation's two major cultural agencies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, are threatened with extinction.

Posted: March 22, 2017 Rally draws critics of Trump proposal to cut arts funding
Columbia Daily Tribune

About 40 people assembled outside the gallery on national Arts Advocacy Day to oppose President Donald Trump’s plan to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Trump’s federal budget proposal would kill both endowments, which each receive about $148 million annually from the federal government. His budget proposal also would cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from about $445 million last year to nothing. The president has said the moves are to help trim spending and save money, though the money allotted to all three make up a tiny fraction of the $4 trillion federal budget.

Posted: March 22, 2017 Penn President Amy Gutmann and other top administrators criticize Trump's budget
The Daily Pennsylvanian

Penn released a statement on Monday criticizing President Donald Trump’s budget proposal.   Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price, Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli and Executive Vice President and Perelman School of Medicine Dean Larry Jameson co-authored the statement, which expresses concern about proposals “to slash or eliminate federal support for scientific research, the arts, humanities, our environment and education (to name only some of the major areas that are threatened).”

The statement also included the text of an email sent by School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Fluharty and Associate Dean Jeffrey Kallberg to School of Arts and Sciences humanities faculty on Thursday, March 16, shortly after the initial budget proposal was released. The budget proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Most of us in the Penn humanities community have benefited either directly or indirectly from the support of the NEH,” the email read. “The School of Arts and Sciences affirms its unwavering support for the NEH mission, and indeed of the enduring value of the humanities that form part of the School’s own mission.