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Responses to the Proposed Elimination of the NEH

4 April 2017 (Olivia Clement, Playbill) — 12 Unions, Including AEA, Appeal to Congress to Save the NEA and Regional Theatre
“The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), a coalition of 12 national unions including Actors Equity Association, has penned a letter to members of Congress in defense of sustaining funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)… which also rallies against budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and privatization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).”

4 April 2017 (Anna Orso, BillyPenn) — How Philly’s arts community is fighting the budget cuts Trump wants
“The Cultural Alliance has also launched a “#SaveTheArts” advocacy campaign, including an entire portion of their website dedicated to helping constituents call their legislators and get involved in social media campaigns aimed at rescuing federal funding for arts and humanities.”

4 April 2017 (Democracy Now!) NYC: Hundreds Rally to Protest Proposed Cuts to Arts & Humanities
“in New York City, hundreds of artists, librarians, broadcasters and museum workers gathered at City Hall Monday for a rally aimed at stopping federal cuts to the arts and humanities.”

4 April 2017 (Anna Orso, BillyPenn) — How Philly’s arts community is fighting the budget cuts Trump wants
“The Cultural Alliance has also launched a “#SaveTheArts” advocacy campaign, including an entire portion of their website dedicated to helping constituents call their legislators and get involved in social media campaigns aimed at rescuing federal funding for arts and humanities.”

3 April 2017 (David Byrne, personal website) — What Good are the Arts?
there is undeniable and indisputable monetary and social value to the nation as a whole in the publicly funded arts. It is by far one of the best investments the government can make… In 2013, the production of arts and cultural goods added more than $704 billion to the U.S. economy. This amounts to 4.23% of GDP. The arts and cultural sector contribute more to the national economy than do the construction, agriculture, mining, utilities, and travel and tourism sectors.”


31 March 2017 (Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News) — An action plan to address the crisis facing humanities
“Education and Research Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen outlined an action plan to address critical issues confronting the humanities at Norwegian universities… the main messages were: Mobilization of more researchers in the humanities… [and] national cooperation within smaller languages, sharing the responsibilities between the universities.”

30 March 2017 (Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times) — President Trump vs Big Bird
“the humanities are far more powerful than most people believe. The world has been transformed over the last 250 years by what might be called a revolution of empathy driven by the humanities… I’ve seen people die for ideas… The humanities do not immunize a society from cruelty and overreaction… But on balance, the arts humanize us and promote empathy. We need that now more than ever."

28 March 2017 (Andrew Nestingen, Chair, Scandinavian Studies, University of Washington, for The Seattle Times) — Ronald Reagan understood ‘the humanities teach us who we are’— what’s happening today?
“the NEH costs only 62 cents per taxpayer each year… Far from being elitist, the humanities unite us. They instill in all of us empathy and compassion, along with critical thinking and communication skills.”

25 March 2017 (Betsy Newman, Letter to the Editor, The State) — Why Humans Need the Humanities
“The National Endowment for the Humanities funds scholars, documentary filmmakers, universities, libraries, museums and archeological sites… 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 their contributions… Attacks on institutions that enrich and unite us have little or nothing to do with money. They are ideological assaults.”

25 March 2017 (Betsy Newman, Letter to the Editor, The State) — Why Humans Need the Humanities
“The National Endowment for the Humanities funds scholars, documentary filmmakers, universities, libraries, museums and archeological sites… 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 their contributions… Attacks on institutions that enrich and unite us have little or nothing to do with money. They are ideological assaults.”

24 March 2017 (Charles McNulty, LA Times) — Embattled and Emboldened: Arts and culture in the age of Trump
“Trump’s recent budget proposal has put the arts and humanities in his crosshairs. His administration sees no public interest in supporting the way Americans make sense of the world through creative and intellectual expression… Yes, the arts create jobs. But even more important, they support the human infrastructure of our society. There’s more at stake in the fight to preserve the NEA and the NEH than the next ‘Hamilton.’"

24 March 2017 (Owen Williams, Folger Library; In the Medieval Middle) — Why the Humanities?
“As humanities thinkers, our goal should be to challenge received ways of thinking—including our own—through productive and generative discussion… Reaching out to those who don’t already agree with us is a radically extensible idea when we agree to let non-specialists set the topic and lead the approach. We need to move beyond valorizing only what we have mastered and meet the public where their interests are by formulating the questions and seeking the answers along with them.”

22 March 2017 (John Fea, Times Higher Education) — Trump’s attack on the humanities threatens US’ national identity
“Trump, it seems, wants the government to get out of the business of funding projects that might lead to compassion for those, such as refugees and immigrants, who are in need… Do we really want to trust the treasured traditions, stories and markers of our collective group identity to a capitalist market?”

22 March 2017 (Chris D’Angelo, The Huffington Post) — Neil deGrasse Tyson Crunches the Numbers on Donald Trump’s Plan to Defund the Arts
“Tyson pointed out in a series of tweets that the agencies’ combined budgets are roughly equivalent to what Americans spend annually on lip balm, and would fund fewer than five hours of military spending.”

21 March 2017 (Britt Julius, Rolling Stone Magazine) — How Arts Organizations are Bracing for Trump’s Possible NEA, NEH Cuts
“We underestimate how fundamental governmental grants are to the survival of the arts in this country… for many local organizations, governmental grants serve as the only reliable funding source for programs in the arts… These proposed cuts essentially draw a line in the sand, suggesting cultivation of the arts and humanities are only necessary for certain Americans in certain parts of the country… they are seen as neither valuable nor fundamental to the strength and vitality of this country by the Trump administration.”

21 March 2017 (Adam Epstein, Quartz Magazine) — Trump’s proposed cuts to the humanities strike at the heart of what actually makes America great
“No academic discipline has done more to promote democratic ideals or cultivate America’s cultural identity than the humanities. Without the NEH, America’s understanding of its own importance in the world would be decidedly less complete. To erase it is to literally erase centuries of history. Donald Trump has spent two years telling the American people he will make America great again. If you want to know what made America great in the first place, and continues to make America great as long as it still exists, check out an NEH exhibit.”

20 March 2017 (Pauline Yu, President, American Council of Learned Societies) — Act to Support the National Endowment for the Humanities
“The funds expended by these agencies are modest but catalytic: they leverage additional support through matching funds raised and institutional cost-sharing of the work supported. These wise investments should not be impulsively discarded.”

20 March 2017 (Joel Connelly, Seattle PI) — Colonial Dames decry Trump’s cuts to arts, humanities, historic preservation
“The 125-year-old National Society of The Colonial Dames of America quietly owns, operates and supports some 80 historic sites, museums and collections that celebrate origins of our venerable republic”

20 March 2017 (Raynard S. Kington, Inside Higher Education) — A scientist speaks for the Arts and Humanities
“If you want to know what a society values, look at how it spends its money -- it is hard to imagine a clearer statement of the devaluing of the power and importance of knowledge than the budget proposed last week by President Trump.”

20 March 2017 (Francine Berman and Cathy N. Davidson) — Saving Our Heritage
“The cultural legacy of a nation is its memory, its heart and its distinct identity… It takes time to create a collective history. It is far easier to lose one -- through fires, floods, terrorism or politics.”

18 March 2017 (Alissa Wilkinson, Vox) — Ken Burns’1990 Civil War documentary makes a strong case for preserving public humanities funding
“In 2016, Burns was selected to deliver the annual Jefferson Lecture, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities… ‘the United States of America is an enduring humanistic experiment… The humanities provide us high ground and perspective to see with clear eyes these fads and trends and unnecessary conflicts for what they are.’ But it’s also the subject of the film, not just its funding sources, that makes it so timely. As Burns himself said in his lecture, the Republic is fragile and divided — and his film documents another time when that was strikingly, searingly true.”

18 March 2017 (Alastair Dunning, Available Online: Digitization & Research Data in the UK, Europe & Beyond) — The US has been a pioneer in the Digital Humanities
“The work the NEH did in this area was established new ground. Their Advanced Topics projects has brought together people on (amongst many other fields) 3D modelling of cultural heritage, digital sound, Native American studies and data curation. Elsewhere they have galvanised research on preserving computing software, textual mark-up, Shakespeare, World War One veterans, Egyptology. The list of topics they have enabled is long. The NEH not only established common ground for the digital humanities but has also been groundbreaking.

17 March 2017 (Michael Cooper and Sopan Deb) — Republicans Start Lining up to Fight for the NEA and NEH
“But even with one-party control in Washington, the fates of the arts endowment and the National Endowment for the Humanities are far from sealed.
    Several key Republican lawmakers are expressing support for the programs, which, since their near-death experiences during the culture wars of a generation ago, have taken pains to counter accusations of coastal elitism by making sure to distribute their grants widely across all 50 states…
    Members of Congress will hear next week from hundreds of activists who were already planning to gather in Washington on Monday and Tuesday to lobby for the arts."

17 March 2017 (Holly Else, Times Higher Education) — US Budget: academics warn of ‘devastating’ impact of Trump’s cuts
“Mr Trump also proposes axeing funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, which fund scholarly research and training, as well as community projects. Amy Ferrer, executive director for the American Philosophical Association, said that eliminating the NEH would “deal a heavy blow to humanities research and scholarship” in the US. Robin Kelsey, dean of arts and humanities at Harvard University, said that although the amount of funding available from the NEH and the NEA is modest compared with that for the sciences, losing it would “deal a blow that would be felt from coast to coast”. In the face of such cuts, research efforts would become “even more concentrated in places such as New York and Los Angeles”, he added.”

17 March 2017 (Christopher P. Long, Education, Politics, the Liberal Arts, The Long Road) — “…No Arts; No Letters; No Society”
“Thomas Hobbes grapples with the question of sovereignty and considers the human condition in a state of nature… In returning to Hobbes, we gain purchase on a future that only now begins to dawn as we in these United States consider abandoning completely our public support of the arts and letters upon which our very commonwealth depends… It requires us to think about what a total renunciation of the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities says about who we are and what we aspire to be.”

17 March 2017 (Caitlin MacNeal, Talking Points Memo) — Advocates Raise the Alarm Over Ripple Effects of Eliminating NEH, NEA
“Advocates were particularly concerned that because the small grants issued by the NEA and NEH attract additional fundraising from private sources, the federal government would be nixing a cost-effective investment in the arts and humanities by eliminating the endowments. They warned that rural and poor communities would be hit hardest because those areas have fewer sources of private funding to fill the endowments' void.”

17 March 2017 (Jim Leach, The Daily Beast) — Why we Must Save the National Endowment for the Humanities
“one of the myths of our times is that the humanities are impractical, unrelated to jobs and a work environment. Actually, they are not only practical but central to long-term American competitiveness… The humanities are America’s stock and trade. They are a national asset that we shortchange at our peril.”

17 March 2017 (Sarah Emerson, Motherboard) — National Parks Posters Remind Us Why Government Funding is Beautiful
“Today, as we struggle to keep public arts programs alive, our country is still covered in WPA works that remind us of their potential for economic and cultural profit.”

17 March 2017 (Eva Bruné, Forward) — Why Trump’s Cuts Would be Deadly to Jewish and American Culture
“Jewish cultural organizations throughout the country would be severely, negatively impacted by the elimination of the NEH, IMLS, and NEA. These agencies fund every pocket of America… the list is endless… To abandon the arts would diminish us all."

17 March 2017 (Mark W. Robbins, Corpus Christi Caller Times) — Government Support for the Humanities: An American Tradition
“These programs are expressions of the broader legacy of an ideology that is as old as the nation
itself. Many of our founding fathers envisioned the United States as having an educated citizenry that would bring out the best in our government and in our society… By contrast, public humanities support coming from private corporations is more prone to reflect private interpretive agendas and is less likely to be evaluated in an environment of open inquiry than its government counterpart.”

17 March 2017 (National Humanities Alliance) — Protect the Role of the Humanities in Public Life!
This page includes links for direct communication with the United States Congress regarding cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities, International Education Programs, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

17 March 2017 (Lee Gardner, The Chronicle of Higher Education) — Why it Matters That Trump Wants to Kill the NEA and NEH
““This administration is saying we do not value the study and research in fields like history and literature,” says Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association. “We do not value the arts. We do not value educational opportunities for large swaths of Americans.””

17 March 2017 (Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker) — Trump’s NEA Budget Cut would put America First, Art Last
“The communities that will be hardest hit by this disastrous decision are those in places like… the Hydaburg Cooperative Association, whose members belong to the Haida tribe in Alaska. The H.C.A. used its forty-thousand-dollar grant to pair master carvers with apprentices to create totem poles, as the Haida people have been doing for thousands of years.”

16 March 2017 (Jojo Karlin, CUNY Academic Commons) — Visualizing the Local Impact of the NEH
“These exploratory graphs are not a conclusion, but this preliminary analysis has shown the impact of the NEH not only on our own institution, but also on middle America—states and people that Trump claims he is most concerned with.”

16 March 2017 (Sopan Deb, The New York Times) — Trump Proposes Eliminating the Arts and Humanities Endowments
“This is the beginning of a long road,” said Ms. Eyring, executive director of the group, which represents more than 500 nonprofit theaters around the country. “Now advocates and people in the arts community will communicate with their legislators and really try to make clear the value of this relatively modest but very important investment in our country through the arts.”

16 March 2017 (Theola Debose, National Endowment for the Humanities) — NEH Chairman William D. Adams Statement on the Proposed Elimination of NEH in FY18 Budget
“as an agency of the executive branch, we answer to the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Therefore, we must abide by this budget request as this initial stage of the federal budget process gets under way. It will be up to Congress over the next several months to determine funding levels for fiscal year 2018. We will work closely with OMB in the coming months as the budget process continues. The agency is continuing its normal operations at this time.”

16 March 2017 (Philip Kennicott & Peggy McGlone, Washington Post) — Trump Wants to Cut the NEA and NEH. This is the worst-case scenario for arts groups
“The budget plan, which calls for the elimination of four independent cultural agencies — the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — also would radically reshape the nation’s cultural infrastructure.”

16 March 2017 (Staff, Forward Magazine) — 7 Vital Programs that would be Gutted by Trump’s Arts and Humanities Cuts
1) The Dead Sea Scrolls
2) Historic Movies
3) American Literature
4) Critical Research
5) Individual Artists and Writers
6) Vital Television Programs
7) National Arts Organizations

16 March 2017 (John Fea, History News Network) — Historian John Fea’s twitterstorm in defence of the NEH
“The argument goes something like this: ‘We don’t want our tax dollars going to fund a study of the Oxford comma in late 19th-century Victorian literature’… But criticizing the public funding of the humanities and the mission of the NEH based on its work with academic scholars fails to acknowledge the fact that most NEH money goes to programs that, whether we realize it or not, often have a direct or indirect influence on our lives."

15 March 2017 (Erin Blakemore, SmartNews Smithsonian.com) — Five Things You Didn’t Realize Were Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities
“In 1963, a group of university presidents, professors, art experts, businesspeople and even the chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission came together to form a national commission… they wrote that Americans—and U.S. democracy—needed the humanities as a way of gaining wisdom, vision and world leadership: ‘Upon the humanities depend the national ethic and morality, the national aesthetic and beauty or the lack of it, the national use of our environment and our material accomplishments.’”

14 March 2017 (Nick Romeo, NationalGeographic.com) — 6 Great Archaeology Discoveries Funded by the U.S. Government
“Since its founding in 1966, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded more than 1,400 grants to archaeological projects worldwide, including some of the most important archaeological discoveries made by American researchers over the past decade… Here are a few of the biggest discoveries in archaeology that have been brought to you in part by the U.S. Government:”

9 March 2017 (Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University for New York Times) — Killing a Program that Brings History to Life
Few Americans anywhere are untouched by an N.E.H.-sponsored project or program. In 1990, for example, Ric Burns and his brother Ken produced an 11-and-a-half-hour documentary on the Civil War that was broadcast over five consecutive nights and seen by more than 40 million viewers. For much of the nation, it was an early form of binge-watching. The humanities endowment made that film possible. Like its sibling the National Endowment for the Arts, the endowment brings the humanities into parts of the country that might otherwise never get to see a world-class museum exhibition or hear a lecture by a Pulitzer-Prize winner.

3 March 2017 (Mariët Westermann, Executive Vice-President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, www.mellon.org) — Why We Need the NEA and the NEH
“‘Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.  It must therefore foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and humanities, designed to make people of all backgrounds and wherever located masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants’… In a period of uncertainty and mounting challenges for humanity, as well as the great yet also dangerous potential for harnessing technology and big data, the founding mission of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities remains as important as it was in 1965.  We are proud to work with the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts, but we do not have the resources to replace them.  More importantly, we cannot play their fundamental role of serving as impartial national assessors, catalysts, and guarantors of the vibrancy of the arts and humanities in America, and as equitable distributors of support for programs that nurture, inspire, and employ millions of people across every district of our republic.”

28 February 2017 (Graham Bowley) — How to Block Trump Arts Cuts? Groups Look for G.O.P. Help
“Today, supporters say, the agencies cost so little that killing them would be empty symbolism. What’s more, after the earlier conflicts, they emphasize that they have participation and support across the country, including Republican strongholds like Nebraska.”

24 February 2017 (Dave Powell, Market Watch) — Funding the arts and humanities is worth fighting for
“protecting their work long after they are gone is an act of preservation that keeps us tethered to the people who came before us. Ironically, conservatives bent on denying funding for the arts and humanities seem unable to realize that the argument for protecting these programs is a profoundly conservative one.”

22 February 2017 (Thomas P. Campbell, Director & Chief Executive, Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York Times) — The Folly of Abolishing the NEA
“As the planet becomes at once smaller and more complex, the public needs a vital arts scene, one that will inspire us to understand who we are and how we got here — and one that will help us to see other countries, like China, not as enemies in a mercenary trade war but as partners in a complicated world.”

6 February 2017 (PEN America) — What do the NEA and NEH Do?
“The NEH is one of the largest supporters of U.S. research, education, public programming and historical preservation in the humanities through grants and fellowships for scholarly work as well as community, cultural, and educational institutions. Their work encompasses a variety of disciplines vital to historical and cultural knowledge, including languages, history, literature, archaeology, philosophy, the law, religion, journalism, and art history.” (petition link included)

6 February 2017 (Scott Wallsten, Morning Consult) — Arts and Humanities are Key Parts of Ensuring Innovation in America
“Arts and humanities are crucial to innovation by promoting creativity and original thinking — the seedcorn of discovery… STEM skills are necessary in a high-tech economy. But STEM alone is not enough. It must be paired with creativity, for creativity yields breakthroughs. And that means recognizing the importance of arts and humanities.”

2 February 2017 (Algernon D’Ammassa, KRWG TV/FM Public Media for Southern New Mexico & Far West Texas) — If you Cherish Freedom, Support the Humanities
“Among these endangered programs is the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds and promotes museums, libraries, research and educational programs, and public participation, all at a cost of $0.46 per capita… Choose a "hot topic," be it abortion, refugees, energy, the environment, trade, foreign relations, or job creation in your community, and notice that having a real discussion about any of them involves the humanities. Without them, we cannot know what we value or what our principles are, and we grope in darkness.”

1 February 2017 (Robert Archambeau, The Walrus) — With Trump, a New Case for Why the Humanities Still Matter
“Perhaps what is really needed, in the Trump era of fake news and alternative facts, is a rethinking of the nature of truth and how it intersects with narrative, rhetoric, new forms of media, and new relationships between speakers and their publics.”

30 January 2017 (Graham Bowley, New York Times) — Trump Arts Plan: No More Money?
“If you last visited the Washington headquarters of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts in 2014 and returned to say hello today you might be surprised. Both agencies moved out of the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue to make way for a new tenant: the Trump International Hotel. It opened last fall after a renovation that cost more than $200 million, which, of course, is more than the budget of either of those agencies.”

29 January 2017 (Algernon D’Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News) — If you Cherish Freedom, Support the Humanities
“The humanities allow us to know what we value, how to talk to other people, and even how we might govern ourselves instead of being ruled. Choose a "hot topic," be it abortion, refugees, energy, the environment, trade, foreign relations, or job creation in your community, and notice that having a real discussion about any of them involves the humanities.”

26 January 2017 (Julie Zeigler, Humanities Washington) — Eliminating the Humanities
Since they were founded 50 years ago, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts have, through involvement at the most grassroots levels, touched nearly every American. They are not a luxury. They are not a partisan issue. The humanities enable us to learn about and tell the stories of our communities and our nation.”

23 January 2017 (Scott Jaschik, Times Higher Education) — Are arts and humanities facing the Trump chop?
“A Republican Study Committee report offers this rationale (here in its entirety) for killing the NEA and NEH: ‘The federal government should not be in the business of funding the arts. Support for the arts can easily and more properly be found from non-governmental sources. Eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts would save taxpayers $148 million (£119 million) per year and eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities would save an additional $148 million per year.’ Many political observers noted that, in the context of a federal budget of $3.899 trillion, the funds spent on the NEH and the NEA are a rounding error.”

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