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Arts are a requirement for human improvement; don’t cut them

Lauren Batchelder, Crier Staff

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On October 1, The National Endowment for the Arts could potentially lose its funding after President Trump’s administration decided to put it on the chopping block. What most people don’t realize is that art enriches our lives, it makes America thrive.

Artists have been funded by Patrons for hundreds of years, Michelangelo could create masterpieces because of money from Lorenzo de Medici or the Catholic Church.

Shakespeare’s plays were attended and supported by Queen Elizabeth and King James, and even Beethoven received an annual stipend from Archduke Rudolph to commission new music for him.

The yearly budget for the NEA is less than $150 million dollars. The yearly spending of the United States is upwards of $4 trillion.

That’s a savings of 0.00375%. This political move isn’t an economic advantage, it’s a step towards cultural deterioration. When the President cuts arts funding, he’s saying that they aren’t an important or integral part of America.

And yet, when children become immersed in the arts, their lives are inherently better. According to CNN, young people who engage regularly with the arts are twice as likely to read for pleasure, three times more likely to win an award for attendance or be elected to class office, and four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement or perform community service.

When we break up the budget of the NEA it’s easy to see that this cut made by Trump is going to negatively affect Americans who typically have nothing. Sixty- five percent of all NEA grants go to small and medium-sized organizations, which tend to support projects that benefit audiences that otherwise might not have access to arts programming.

Meanwhile, forty percent of NEA-supported activities take place in high-poverty neighborhoods.  Thirty Six percent of NEA grants go to organizations that reach underserved populations such as people with disabilities, people in institutions, and veterans while more than half of NEA-funded art events take place in locations where the median household income is less than $50,000.

My biggest problem with the proposed budget cut is the fact that our President is willing to pay one billion dollars for just sixty miles of his so called “wall”. Art tears down borders, while Trump is trying to enforce one. But this is the America we are now living in, and unless people advocate for programs like the National Endowment for the Arts, it is the country that will ultimately suffer.

If Trump believes that the United States of America can thrive without art, then let him try. But, I was under the impression he wanted to make America great again.

The arts are what make us human, they transcend time and cultural boundaries bringing people together regardless of their backgrounds. The world is constantly changing, but it is art that has survived. Shakespeare’s words have been translated into 80 different languages, Ballets such as Swan Lake have been performed thousands of times on nearly every continent and it is estimated by the Louvre that six million people visit the Mona Lisa every year.

We can’t cut federal spending for the arts, anytime we step into a theatre, concert hall or even museum we are embracing our humanity. When people are together witnessing art, it’s hundreds of strangers coming together regardless of race, gender or class in order to share an experience.

America needs the National Endowment for the Arts now more than ever before. Besides, without art, the Earth is just “Eh”.

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The student news site of Saint Anselm College
Arts are a requirement for human improvement; don’t cut them