The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is reacting to the portion of the White House FY 2018 budget proposal that's calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. "At a time when many countries around the world are strengthening their connection and commitment to innovation through the arts and design, these drastic measures strike at the heart of American ingenuity and creativity. We should celebrate and protect design thinking and the contributions that the arts and design make to our economy and our way of life," says IDSA Executive Director Daniel Martinage, CAE.
Also weighing in on the first-of-its-kind announcement from any president since the endowment was established is NEA Chair Jane Chu. "We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation. We understand that the President’s budget request is a first step in a very long budget process; as part of that process we are working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare information they have requested."
Chu says the NEA continues "to operate as usual" and will do so until a new budget is enacted by Congress. "We expect this news to be an active topic of discussion among individuals and organizations that advocate for the arts. As a federal government agency, the NEA cannot engage in advocacy, either directly or indirectly. We will, however, continue our practice of educating about the NEA’s vital role in serving our nation’s communities."
Reports Sopan Deb for The New York Times, "A deep fear came to pass for many artists, museums and cultural organizations nationwide... when President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities.... It was the first time a president has called for ending the endowments."
This comes only a year and a half after the NEA's 50th anniversary was celebrated at the White House by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Oct. 9, 2015. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act in 1965, creating the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities and declared that any “advanced civilization” must fully value the arts, the humanities and cultural activity. Since then, the NEA has awarded more than 145,000 grants totaling $5 billion to arts organizations and individuals in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories.
The NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.
The Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio could also end up on the list of cuts. CNN reports both outlets are ready to fight.