Funding arts, humanities benefits all Americans

To the Editor:

Have you ever watched Ken Burns’ documentary on the Civil War, read “The Color Purple” or seen “Sesame Street” with your children?

Have you seen a Sundance film, listened to NPR or watched anything on PBS?

Did you ever use interlibrary loan for a book you need, attend a library-sponsored program on New Hampshire history or visited the Currier Museum of Art?

Have you taken a League of New Hampshire Craftsman workshop, or attended its annual fair at Sunapee?

Do you know a teenager who has explored ethics questions at HYPE (Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts at the University of New Hampshire), or a child who has discovered the joy of theater at Andy’s Summer Playhouse?

If you say “yes” to any of these, you can thank one or more of the following for their funding and support: the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), our state’s Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), our own New Hampshire Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) or the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

These organizations enrich our cultural life, enhance civic connections and empower new ideas. They reach everyone in all 50 states, including underserved and rural communities, with grants for vital arts and educational resources that would otherwise be impossible.

The president’s fiscal 2018 budget calls for the elimination of the NEH, NEA, CPB and IMLS. Any cutbacks in funding on the federal level have serious negative impacts for our state arts and humanities. According to New Hampshire Humanities, “The combined savings achieved through these cuts would be a mere 0.02 percent of federal spending.” And yet the arts generate $22.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues annually, giving even less justification to ending these programs.

Arts and humanities create jobs. They strengthen education. They feed our souls. Please help us convince the president that funding the arts and humanities is in the best interest of all Americans. We can’t afford to lose them.

Emily Archer

and Jill Weber

for Mont Vernon Area Civic Action