Weekly Tea Discussion: Why Are People Afraid of the Arts?

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Two days ago, President Trump announced a proposal budget that would cut funding to arts and education programs. This would propel the elimination of four independent cultural agencies – the National Endowment for Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports public television and radio such as PBS and NPR. While these and other vital organizations are forced with devastating proposed cuts, it didn’t stop the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veteran Affairs receive an increase in their funding.

 (Los Angeles Times Graphics)
Trump’s Budget Proposal Credit: Los Angeles Times

I have nothing against veterans. I strongly believe those who fight for our country should receive funding that will give them the support they need. But more money going towards basically war and violence is an atrocity and this is coming from a man who most likely wouldn’t know a piece of art or an open book if it was literally right in front of him. Unfortunately, this was bound to happen here in America. We as a country place anything ahead of the value if the arts and education. The arts always plays last fiddle to anything, whether it is technology, politics, or security. Which leads me to ask the question: why are people so afraid of the arts?

These proposed cuts hit a little close to home with me. As you all I know, I am a librarian. Everyday I continuously see people who not only benefit from our services, but are hugely impacted by what we do for the community. They value us and see what purpose we serve. However, there are some, most likely those who never visited a library let alone use it, see no purpose in their existence and don’t understand why their tax dollars should go towards something they see no evidence of benefits,  unproductive, and ineffective. The same argument can be made for all of the arts. Since most feel that the arts and education are of no use personally, why should we as a nation continue paying for it?

I don’t believe in war and guns. But I am not naive. I know we need to have a defense for our country. But let us remember, the United States spends more money on Defense Budget compared to seven other countries, combined. However, this is not a possibility to do this for the arts and education? You say that you don’t have any use for it. Fine, but do you know who does need arts funding most? Rural communities and low-income neighborhoods, there are the ones who need the most. These organisations are the ones that give them the exposure of the arts that they deserve and education that they need. If the funding goes away, who will be there to help them?

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities are under threat dues to proposed budget cuts. Credit: Academy of American Poets

Arts is more than just paint on a canvas or music notes on a music sheet. The arts allows us to think outside the box. It is where our creativity really takes its form. Kids can think critically with the arts, shape their own opinions. The arts are what define our past, think more about the present, and help shape our future. So when you go to a museum or a concert, instead of thinking how this wasteful space could be used for something else, take a second look. These great works came from people who had passion for their work, had fun, and expressed themselves. Aren’t those the same attributes we should instill in our children?

Our country needs to appreciate the arts and what it can do for not only young people, for families…everyone basically. Everyone should have access to arts and no one should be denied an education to it. We need to stop thinking of it as an unnecessary subject. I’m might be jumping a little head of myself. Congress would need to approve this budget and there is hope that they might deny it. However, the fact it was just so easy to decrease funding to organizations that supports the arts shows just how much little appreciation we have for institutions that support communities. There is no reason that arts and education can be on the same pedestal as defense and security. If we don’t have the arts and education, then what are we really defending?

How do you feel about this? Do you think these organizations should continue to get funding? Have the arts deeply impacted you in some way? Post your comments below.

(If you would like to help, please sign this petition that opposes these budget cuts.)

 

3 thoughts on “Weekly Tea Discussion: Why Are People Afraid of the Arts?

  1. Yes, yes and yes – the arts should continue to be funded. Writing, painting, sculpting, music and theater – these are the things speak through a society despite its government. When the government stops supporting those endeavors, history shows us how the arts speak of those governments.

    Liked by 1 person

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