Bethel, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today visited the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts 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 rural communities and small towns like those in Sullivan County and throughout the Hudson Valley. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities give local museums in small towns 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.”
“I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her tireless efforts to restore federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. “Art and culture are part of what makes our area such a great place to live. We need to ensure that organizations have the resources they need to continue their great work for generations to come.”
“We’re grateful to Senator Gillibrand for initiating a bi-partisan request to the President to restore the Endowments,” said Elaine Giguere, Executive Director, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. “Nearly every community in the country benefits from these agencies either directly or indirectly. Arts and humanities funding supports economic drivers such as livability and tourism; supports art making, and elevates educational and life-long learning experiences.”
“The reason a small, rural arts company like NACL has been able to survive as long as we have, is in no small part, due to the funding we receive from both state and federal agencies—namely New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, said Tannis Kowalchuk, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, NACL Theatre. “NACL was a recipient of a prestigious NEA OUR TOWN award that funded “The Weather Project,” a two year community arts and climate science project involving hundreds of residents, artists, cross-sector organizations, and a NASA scientist. With it NACL Theatre produced a massive 75-person play, an art show, and climate change symposium serving over 1000 people in our small hamlet of Highland Lake, NY. This educational, artistic and participatory project offered a once in a life artistic experience for so many. This kind of creative place making work that NACL practices would not have evolved without the NEA.”
“The Arts are a major contributor to the $388 million annual visitor spending in the Sullivan Catskills,” said Roberta Byron-Lockwood, President/CEO Sullivan Catskills Visitor Association. “Funding the Arts and Humanities not only provides an economic stimulus to the community but it defines the quality of life for our residents.”
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.