“O, had I but followed the arts!”*…
Investment in the arts doesn’t cost us money – it MAKES us money!
I just got back from a rally at City Hall. It was organized by city council member Jimmy Van Bramer to protest the proposed budget cuts to both publicly funded arts organizations (NEA, NEH and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and the library system. Lots of other council members, museum directors, actors, union representatives and many more were on hand. It was a beautiful spring day. I spoke very briefly, making the economic and social argument—that arts funding benefits the economy and creates jobs way in excess of the amount invested. It has the effect of lowering crime, raising property values and lowering child abuse! Really!
The Trump administration and their Republican allies hope to eliminate funding for a number of federal arts organizations. This is a political move—it really doesn’t amount to much money—it’s a tiny part of the federal budget. The amount of federal funding is $741 million, which sounds like a lot, but is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the United States’ annual federal spending, an amount supporters say is too small to make a difference in the budget if it was cut. On a budget pie chart it doesn’t even show up, it’s too small.
Q: What does that “investment” get us as a nation?—A: It gets multiplied more than 100 times= $135.2 BILLION…
* Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
As we treasure society’s hope chest, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939 that celebrated contralto Marian Anderson sang an Easter Sunday concert for more than 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. A radio audience of millions listened in.
Anderson had been denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall by the DAR because of her color. Instead, and at the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes permitted her to perform at the Lincoln Memorial.