a2ru Response to White House FY2018 Proposed Federal Budget

March 20, 2017

DATE: March 20, 2017
MEMO: White House’s FY2018 proposed federal budget
TO: a2ru Partners
FROM: a2ru Executive Committee and Staff

On Thursday, March 16, the White House released a FY2018 federal budget proposal that will potentially affect every American. With $1.1 billion in spending reductions proposed, this budget calls into question the United States’ ability to remain globally competitive. FY2018 budget cutbacks will heavily impact federally funded research and zero out all federal arts and humanities agencies. If approved, this budget critically undermines higher education’s ability to incubate arts and humanities research and practice, educate our students, and serve American citizens. More specifically, the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will dismantle the broad yet fragile U.S. cultural infrastructure, diminishing or eliminating many arts and cultural collaborations that strengthen communities, improve health and well-being, create entrepreneurial start-ups, and provide an education in American grit, strategic thinking, and creativity. The defunding of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) would dramatically compromise additional catalytic innovation in humanities-based research, free thought, and the exchange of ideas that celebrate our humanity — work fundamental to U.S. democracy.

A president’s proposed budget initiates an extensive approval process. Congress, however, has the final authority and dynamically responds to its citizenry. We call on alliance members and friends to contact your representatives in Congress to act and share your stories. The national response has been swift and thorough. Americans for the Arts and the National Humanities Alliance have facts and information about how to get involved. The Arts Action Fund’s #SaveTheNEA campaign and the Performing Arts Alliance’s response form are additional resources. The College Art Association, of which a2ru is an affiliated society, has developed tools for immediate engagement, including a statement on NEA and NEH budget cuts and a CAA Arts and Humanities Advocacy Toolkit. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s senior administration has also recently issued insightful opinion pieces, found HERE and HERE, in response to President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts.

a2ru advances arts and arts-integrative curricula, programs, and creative practices in higher education to expand the vital role of higher education in our global society. Our institutions have experienced how NEA and NEH funding acts as a force-multiplier, supporting creativity, innovation, citizenship, democracy and diverse communities. On each of our campuses across the nation, federal arts and humanities funding have fostered new performances, commissions, lectures, scholarly convenings, community engaged scholarship, and fundamental collaborations spanning richly diverse disciplines and cultures. a2ru released a statement on February 1 addressing the rumored cuts. We come to you today asking you to take action by sharing your stories and concerns with your Congressional representatives.

This week, representatives from a2ru and our partner organization, the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD), meet with Members of Congress to advocate for a FY2018 budget that serves all Americans. a2ru, together with a host of local, regional, and national organizations, advocates for the importance and relevance of the arts and humanities in higher education and in all of our lives. Please join us in this effort.

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