Last week Donald Trump proposed cuts to the federal budget which eliminates funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
This meant that it would scrap the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations, as well as defunding the National Endowment for the Humanities. All this to increase the budget for boosting defense spending.
As a result of it Trump got some criticism from actor Robert Redford in an open letter to the Sundance Institute website, calling it “entirely the wrong approach at entirely the wrong time.”
— Sundance Institute (@sundanceorg) March 19, 2017
“The proposed defunding of the NEA’s budget would gut our nation’s long history of support for artists and arts programs and it would deprive all our citizens of the culture and diversity the humanities brings to our country,” he wrote.
“We need to invite new voices to the table, we need to offer future generations a chance to create, and we need to celebrate our cultural heritage.”
The NEA only takes a small part of the federal budget, which is $4 trillion. The NEA acquired $148 million from federal funds in 2016.
Redford cited what he called the “fractional” needs of the NEA.
“The historic investment in the NEA has been fractional compared to other government spending but the dividends of this investment in our culture are unquantifiable,” he wrote.
Redford hailed the NEA for contributing to launch of his Sundance Institute in 1981.
“That first promising investment from the NEA, and their belief in my project was vital to launching programs that now support tens of thousands of American artists working in film and theater and new media,” he wrote.
He also urged people to get up and do something about it. “Opposition to these cuts and in favor of continued support for the role the arts play in enriching our American story.”