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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: March 27, 2017 From University's perspective, Trump's proposed budget is 'a disaster'
Duke Chronicle

Although a president’s first budget outline rarely gets passed as proposed, Trump’s plan has been particularly controversial—with potential consequences for the University.

The current budget proposal is a “skinny budget,” explained Chris Simmons, associate vice president of federal relations. It currently includes large cuts to entities like the National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities and Department of Education, while increasing defense spending by $54 billion.

“I think the budget is a disaster, but it’s just the first step in a long process, and we’re going to work hard to rectify these issues,” Simmons said.

Posted: March 27, 2017 A Conservative Case For Why Trump Should Fund the Arts
The Daily Beast

For decades, conservatives questioned the need for the government to financially support the arts and humanities. Now they may have the opportunity to put an end to what they believe are the unnecessary, even destructive cultural agencies set up in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). In calling for their complete elimination, the president is taking a radical step that only Ronald Reagan, of all our previous presidents, first favored.

When Reagan considered ending the arts endowment in 1981, the effort was halted by his friend Charlton Heston, also a Hollywood Democrat turned conservative. “The transition team really did want to de-fund it,” Marc Hogan reported in Pitchfork. As Barnabas Henry, head of the president’s special task force on the arts and humanities later told The New York Times: “... we put a lot of people on the task force like Charlton Heston and Adolph Coors who were close to the President, and we all thought the task force did finally persuade him that it would be a terrible thing to stop the federal support.”

Posted: March 27, 2017 Leaders of Reddit History Forum Break ‘No-Politics’ Rule to Oppose Trump’s NEH Cuts

The AskHistorians section of Reddit has become a popular forum for history buffs to share their knowledge in a strictly moderated environment. The goal is to celebrate the past, and the group’s rules are clear: No discussion of current events (defined as less than 20 years old) and “no soapboxing” or expressing political views.

Decidedly current political events punctured that bubble last week, however, when the moderators broke their own guidelines to advocate against President Donald Trump’s proposal to strip all funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts (which now receive about $148 million per year each).

“NEH funding indirectly supports what you're reading right now,” the moderators argued in a post to the group, which has more than half a million subscribers. “We don't get political for a particular candidate, a particular party, or a particular point of view. We get political when good history matters. If you’re American, we’re asking you to call your Congressmen and Congresswomen to support funding for the NEA and NEH.”

Posted: March 26, 2017 Across America, artists are searching for answers about Trump's planned funding cuts
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

There's no time to wait-and-see. American artists, researchers and media people are already planning what comes next should President Donald Trump's plan to cut all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) pass through Congress.

The president laid out the plan in his proposed budget earlier this month. The funds the trio of organizations gets from Washington make up a miniscule portion of the overall federal budget — in the 2016 fiscal year total federal spending was an estimated $3.9 trillion US. The NEA got $147.9 million US and the NEH requested the same amount (that's about 0.004 per cent each) while the CPB received $445 million US (around 0.01 per cent).

That's not a lot of money next to the trillions spent overall, but it's vital for hundreds of recipients, scattered in galleries, universities, museums, radio booths and television studios throughout the United States.

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

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.”