April 10, 2017

Standing at the Long Island Children's Museum, Senator Gillibrand Calls on Senate to Reject President Trump's Cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities

Garden City, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today visited the Long Island Children’s 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 hurt our communities and families throughout Long Island. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities give local museums 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.”

“Museums and cultural organizations … and the visitors they serve … would look vastly different without institutions like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services” said Suzanne LeBlanc, President, Long Island Children’s Museum (LICM).  “At Long Island Children’s Museum, funding from these agencies has provided critical seed money to launch initiatives that serve families and schoolchildren from a diversity of economic and cultural backgrounds and abilities; creating opportunities for increased understanding and dialogue, educational and social supports, and access to the performing arts in the LICM Theater.  Funding these agencies produces a strong “return on investment” for the American public,” she added.

Theresa Statz-Smith of the Long Island Arts Alliance said, “Without this funding it increases the deep divide in our region between those who have and those who have not. Wealthy communities support the arts and arts education, it's the under-served communities that once again are hurt the most when we lose our government's support of these critical institutions.”

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.