Top image: Sarah Levy, ‘Donald Trump’, 2015
President-elect Donald Trump may heavily cull arts funding as part of a budget-tightening plan.
As reported by The Hill, an unnamed member of Trump’s transition team has stated that Trump will abolish the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. The changes would also involve the privatisation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the nonprofit organisation that is the largest single source of funding for public radio and television stations across the US.
According to The Hill, many of the proposed changes fall under a budget blueprint published last year under the Heritage Foundation, a think tank largely responsible for staffing the Trump transition.
The National Endowment for the Arts supports public accessibility to the arts, college scholarships, and makes art accessible to large and small communities around the US through various initiatives and programs. The National Endowment for the Humanities supports libraries, book projects, museums, scholarships and public television.
It’s not the first time the NEA has come under threat from the Republican party. Upon entering the office in 1981, Robert Reagan announced intentions to abolish the NEA completely. His plans were steamrolled when the President’s special task force on the arts and humanities reported the “needs involved and benefits of past assistance” – concluding that federal support was important.
Trump himself already has a (now ironic) history with the NEH, whose office in the Old Post Office Building was relocated to make way for a Trump hotel in 2014.
If moved forward with, the reported plans could deliver an unmeasurable blow to national arts and culture, cutting off access to these invaluable sectors of society for many.
Official word on the budget cuts is expected in the next 45 days of Trump’s presidency, following his inauguration today.