Cuts to the NEA will harm arts culture, steal jobs from students

February 21, 2017

Eleanor Sturt

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     It is no coincidence that the same society that gave us democracy also gave us theater.

     Theater and art have always had a political relationship. But that relationship is being strained.

     According to The Hill, President Donald Trump plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

     As a theater major and strong advocate for the arts, this is extremely concerning.

     If the NEA is cut, we would lose thousands of jobs in the theater industry. Designers, producers, directors and actors would have nowhere to go. This plan would shut down theaters, operas, ballets, museums, art galleries, art schools and more.

     VAPA majors graduating from UCCS will be jobless, and still thousands of dollars in debt.

     “No theater could sanely flourish until there was an umbilical connection between what was happening on the stage and what was happening in the world,” said Kenneth Tynan, theater critic.

     According to the NEA, the 2016 fiscal year budget was $147,949,000.

     With this budget, the NEA awards grants for arts projects, national initiatives and partnership agreements, all which fund art, theater and poetry on a national scale.

     According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal spending in 2015 was $3.7 trillion, meaning the NEA took only 0.004 percent of federal spending.

     If this funding is pulled, local theaters like TheatreWorks and the Denver Center for the Arts would have no choice but to close since these grants are critical to their budgets.

     The Ent Center for the Arts would be unused by a professional theater.

     The only theaters left in the nation would be massive commercial theaters like the ones on Broadway, making theater and art only available for the rich.

     Without the arts, our society cannot grow. Try to imagine a world without art.

     The arts are crucial to our society, and cutting the 0.004 percent funding would have catastrophic effects on the artistic community, and, as a result, the progress of society.

     Brian Darling, former staffer at the Heritage Foundation, was quoted in The Hill saying that “The Trump Administration needs to reform and cut spending dramatically, and targeting waste like the National Endowment for the Arts…”

     But a society that has a strong connection with the arts is a thriving society.

     The arts provide a place for sociological experimentation.

     It promotes the understanding of differences between cultures and people of different societies. It also offers commentary on current events, allowing and administrating change.

     The Greeks, one of the most influential societies of all time, had a strong relationship with the arts, through music, visual and performance art.

     During the Renaissance, Italy innovated life as we know it with the leaps in the sciences and political policies, but also in art. Some of the most well-known artists derived from this era.

     Society flourishes when the arts do too. If a society was a living breathing creature, art is the heartbeat; one cannot exist without the other.