In President Trump’s latest budget announcement, he has just sent shockwaves through the art world by proposing to scrap the entire budget for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowments were created in 1965 by Lyndon Johnson, and have largely remained untouched since then despite some threats to cut them. The Thursday budget looks set to change that.
As reported in the Daily Caller:
The endowments are cherished in particular by progressives who believe the government should make sure arts and humanities thrive in the country, while they’ve long drawn ire from conservatives who see it as a waste of tax dollars. Critics often point out strange or bizarre uses of the money, such as one government-funded artist who took a picture of a crucifix submerged in a jar of his own urine, or the time the endowments sent several puppeteers’ on a trip to Mexico for a three-day conference.
The president’s budget typically serves as more of a statement of priorities than anything else, since Congress is ultimately responsible for drafting and passing its own budget. Nevertheless, the arts community is worried, given the immense power Republicans have in controlling both the White House and Congress.
If art is to be publically funded, then it should be art that is accessible to all people. So called “art” that is being pushed in the name of shock and awe is not appealing to many taxpayers, so the move is likely to prove positive with voters.