April 21, 2017

Senator Gillibrand Joins Local Community Advocates at Erie Canal Museum, Calls on Senate to Reject President Trump's Cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities

Syracuse, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today visited the Erie Canal Museum and stood with community leaders to call on the Senate to reject President Trump’s budget proposal to zero out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.

“The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities allow families and community organizations to help give our children the chance to experience and learn about art, music, dance, language, and literature,” said Senator Gillibrand. “If these programs are taken away, it would particularly hurt communities and towns like those throughout Central New York. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities give local organizations more resources to teach students on field trips, and they fund educational programming on PBS beloved by children and their families, they give veterans a new lens to understand their experiences and reintegrate into their communities. We should never allow these programs to be cut, and I will continue to do everything in my power to stand up for communities that don’t have a lot of resources and rely on these programs.”

“As director of a relatively small museum in a mid-sized city, I know firsthand the importance of federal funding for sites like the Erie Canal Museum,” said Erie Canal Museum Executive Director Natalie Stetson. “We have received funding from IMLS, the NEA, and other federal sources that have allowed us to remain relevant to a 21st century audience and to share our unique collections. The Erie Canal Museum tells a national story, reaches a national audience, and relies on federal funding to serve our constituents in new and creative ways.”

“You cannot have a vibrant and great nation without the arts. Everyone has at some point in their life been touched and moved by art. Imagine that no longer exists. Our nation needs to continue enriching the world through our support and funding of the arts and the artists who inspire us all,” said Michael Massurin, President of the Arts & Culture Leadership Alliance of CNY.

The NEA and NEH have an annual budget of $148 million each. President Trump’s recently released budget proposes to zero out funding for both of these institutions. In 2016, New York institutions were awarded 538 grants from the NEA, totaling more than $17 million. New York received 111 grants from the NEH the same year, totaling more than $12.6 million.