The City Council approved a resolution today opposing President Trump’s proposed budget eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
The termination of funding would limit the capacity of the state’s arts organizations to provide residents with access to the arts. Several arts programs serving Minneapolis residents and neighborhoods—both large and small—have received support from the federal arts agencies. President Trump has also proposed a mid-year reduction of funding for the NEA and NEH for fiscal year 2017.
The resolution, authored by Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, notes that 65 percent of NEA grants go to small and medium sized organizations that reach underserved populations, including immigrants, communities of color, people with disabilities and veterans, among others, through free performances and reduced ticket prices. More than half of NEA-funded arts events take place in areas where the median household income is less than $50,000.
The City of Minneapolis has key partnerships with many arts organizations and business associations with strong arts programming that have received or are seeking NEA funding for community development projects. The NEA, NEH and IMLS play a critical role in community revitalization by supporting family literacy, education and providing vital resources for stimulating economic development through internet access, job training, access to information and skills development
“These sweeping cuts would be a major blow to our city’s arts community and cultural institutions,” Glidden said. “Elimination of this funding is blatant censorship of artists and performers, and a fatal blow to accessible information, art and culture throughout our city and country. Arts and cultural organizations in Minneapolis and across the U.S. will be devastated by these cuts.”
Mayor Betsy Hodges also condemned Trump’s proposed budget. “The arts unite us and help us see the bigger picture. Trump’s intention to gut funding for these agencies is another way he is trying to advance his agenda of suppression,” Hodges said. “In Minneapolis, we have the most vibrant arts community anywhere. We will continue to lift up and support our artists especially in these challenging times.”
The NEA and NEH were established as independent federal agencies in 1965. Combined, their annual budgets are about $300 million—about 0.008 percent of the federal budget. With support from these federal agencies, the arts and culture sector accounts for $742 billion annually, or about 4.2 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, and employs millions of people.
A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to Minnesota’s Congressional delegation.