NEH in the News
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., joined Vermont arts and humanities leaders Wednesday to warn about potential cuts to cultural programs across the Green Mountains.
The heads of various organizations – from Burlington City Arts to the Weston Playhouse – said President Donald Trump’s proposed reductions in federal arts funding would have devastating impacts on the state’s cultural offerings.
In 2016, Vermont received more than $4.7 million in arts-related grants from various federal agencies. That includes $1.7 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $1.1 million from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, $983,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts and $853,072 from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Valdosta State University’s Archives and Special Collections was recently featured on the National Endowment for the Humanities website as part of its “50 States of Preservation” series. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is an important organization that works with archives, museums, and libraries all over the United States,” said Deborah Davis, director of VSU Archives and Special Collections. “They are one of the largest national funders of humanities programs.
“They chose VSU Archives and Special Collections to represent the state of Georgia. It is a huge honor for our digital preservation program to receive national recognition, and the National Endowment for the Humanities helped us do that.”
The article highlights the university’s journey to secure digital preservation. After a series of freak accidents in 2011, VSU Archives and Special Collections lost more than 80 gigabytes worth of electronic files. They received a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Assistance Grant in 2012 and were able to implement better hardware, more consistent policies and procedures for tracking items, and a comprehensive digital preservation strategy.
In the wake of the Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal, which calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and additional domestic programs, several Broadway stars and luminaries have joined forces with Playbill to express their concern and to say “no” to these cuts.
Raising their voices in the video above are Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays (Oslo), Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (The Cherry Orchard), Ann Harada (Avenue Q), Tony nominee Alex Brightman (School of Rock), Ana Villafañe (On Your Feet!), Jelani Remy (The Lion King), Gideon Glick (Significant Other), Carrie St. Louis (Wicked), Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick, Alison Fraser (Falsettos), Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon), Ashley Park (Sunday in the Park with George), Tyler Hanes (Cats), Amber Gray (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812), Kara Lindsay (Wicked), and composer Drew Gasparini.
Sonnenberg Gardens. Wood Library. The Ontario County Historical Museum.
A list of some of Canandaigua’s central, iconic entities? Yes. And also a list of local entities that rely in part on federal funding through the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to carry out their missions. Their tasks will be considerably more difficult if President Trump’s proposed federal budget is approved as it stands, with its elimination of the NEA and NEH, and subsequently such programs as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
That was the message conveyed in U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s recent appearance at the county Historical Museum on Canandaigua’s North Main Street — which relies on such funding to survive, its executive director says. At that Monday appearance, the senator promised to fight to keep those agencies and their funding in place.
“We should never allow these programs to be cut, and I will continue to do everything in my power to stand up for communities that don’t have a lot of resources and rely on these programs,” Gillibrand said. She also noted that NEA and NEH programs account for about 3 million jobs — that’s 3 million employed Americans.
When Austin Bell received a phone call from a Washington, D.C., area code on Dec. 6, he thought about ignoring it. He was literally in the middle of installing the Marco Island Historical Museum’s new Pioneer Era exhibit and wasn’t expecting any calls, but something told him to answer. “I thought it was probably another robo-caller,” Bell, Curator of Collections for the Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) said, “but I just had a feeling that it was important.”
Instead of hearing a pre-recorded sales pitch, Bell was politely greeted by the office of United States Representative Curt Clawson, who offered early congratulations to the MIHS for being named the recipient of a preservation assistance grant for smaller Institutions from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The NEH grant award of $6,000 will go toward “the rehabilitation of archaeological materials from Marco Island, Florida.” The funds will be used to purchase necessary supplies, such as acid-free boxes, archival bags, and artifact labeling materials. Bell, who authored the grant request in May 2016 and is the project director, is basing his approach on methods learned while at the Florida Museum of Natural History, where he participated in a similar (albeit larger-scale) NEH-funded project for several years.
Rachel Teukolsky, an associate professor of English whose research bridges Victorian literature and the visual arts, has received a Summer Stipends award from the Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her current book project.
Teukolsky will travel to London to conduct research at the British Film Institute and the Imperial War Museum for her upcoming book, Picture World: The Aesthetic Life of Images in Britain’s Machine Age.
Molly T. Blasing, assistant professor of Russian studies in the University of Kentucky Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, has been awarded a 2017 NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Summer Stipend, one of only two conferred this year in Kentucky.
She will use the funding to complete research on a final chapter of her book, “Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture.”
Blasing's project examines the relationship between photographic seeing and poetic creation in Russia and the Soviet Union. The book represents an interdisciplinary approach to modern literary studies, visual culture and the social history of technology.
Bentley Professor of English and Media Studies Gesa Kirsch has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend grant to study the Woman’s Medical Journal, which circulated nationwide from 1893 to 1952, along with the network of women doctors that it helped foster.
Kirsch’s work this summer will focus on the “rhetorical strategies, professional networks and intellectual leadership” of a group of late 19th century women physicians, using case studies of these women and analysis of the Woman’s Medical Journal. Kirsch will examine the ways these women physicians mentored each other in a culture that was sometimes openly hostile to their professional aspirations.
Dr. Kristina Killgrove, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, received a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study skeletal remains of victims of the 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius volcano eruption.
The NEH awards only about 80 of the prestigious stipends to recipients annually across the country.
The $6,000 stipend will allow Killgrove to analyze 54 skeletons this summer at Oplontis, a villa located in southern Italy near the ancient city of Pompeii that was buried in ash from the volcano. While the destruction of Pompeii is well studied, not as much is known about the associated villas that were also destroyed by the eruption.
“This huge villa included essentially an Olympic-size swimming pool,” Killgrove said. “The skeletons were found in an associated building that seems to have been a sort of merchant-type area. They seem to have been an import-export wine business.”
Killgrove will perform research at the ancient site for six weeks. She will create 3-D models of the partially excavated remains and an osteological analysis of all 54 skeletons, which were discovered between 1984 and 1991.
Among the recipients are the following CAA members, all of whom received Summer Stipends to work on their various research projects:
- Marie-Stéphanie Delamaire of the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library in Winterthur, Delaware, for “Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia and the Color Printing Revolution: A Translation and Critical Study”
- Jennifer Germann of Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, for “A Study of the Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, an 18th-century British Artwork”
- Laura Morowitz of Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, for “Art Exhibitions in Vienna, Austria, during the Nazi Occupation”
- Allie Terry-Fritsch from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, for “Cosimo de’Medici, Fra Angelico, and the Public Library of San Marco”
- Anne Verplanck of Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg for “The Business of Art: Transforming the Graphic Arts in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
These awards come just weeks after President Donald J. Trump’s administration released a budget proposal calling for the elimination of the NEH, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Education’s international education programs, the Institute for Museums and Library Services, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Our attention now turns to Congress, which can fund these programs despite the administration’s proposals. We have been heartened that these programs—which have been supported by presidents of both parties—have seen growing support in Congress in recent years. Indeed, over the past two years, the Republican-controlled Congresses have supported increases for the NEH.