Arts advocates defend the NEA

The director of the California Arts Council (CAC) and the CEO of Americans for the Arts (AFTA) have both written open letters protesting potential cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). At least two members of the Trump transition team suggested that the NEA – originally set up in 1965 – should be abolished.

‘The impact of the NEA is essential, and wide-reaching,’ said CAC director Craig Watson. ‘Each dollar in NEA grant funds leverages another nine dollars from other public and private sources. The grants and programs that the NEA administers are powerful examples of how the arts are a vital part of our everyday lives.’

Meanwhile AFTA CEO Robert Lynch wrote to Trump to express his concern, and has asked members of the public to sign a petition – available here – that will accompany his next letter to the President.

Said Lynch: ‘I believe our collective job in the arts community is to tell our story and make our case again and again at the federal, state and local levels…in the current political environment, it is critical that all of us redouble our efforts.’

Lynch also included a list of actions that members of the public can take to help support the NEA:

  • Take two minutes to contact your two Senators and your House representatives now.
  • Join the Arts Action Fund (for free) so we can get alerts to you as quickly as possible and you can respond to decision-makers fast.
  • Work to get other colleagues to join the Arts Action Fund. We ask that you pledge to reach out to at least five board, staff, members, or audience members. Two national partners, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and Blick Art Supply brought in 42,000 members and 37,000 customers respectively to become arts advocates for our cause.
  • Register to attendNational Arts Advocacy Day on 20-121 March in Washington where you can add your voice in person.
  • Inform us of any specific actions impacting the arts in your community as a result of the President’s new executive order on sanctuary cities.  Please email Ruby Harper at

Any plan to abolish the NEA would have to be approved by Congress – it could not be done by an Executive Order from Trump. |