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Actors, Artists Denounce Donald Trump’s Proposed Art Budget Cuts

Variety logo Variety 3/16/2017 Lawrence Yee

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President Trump’s proposal to eliminate funding to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment of the Arts was denounced by the artistic community on Thursday.

PBS President and CEO Paula Karger issued a statement outlining the low costs and high returns of public broadcasting.

“PBS and our nearly 350 member stations, along with our viewers, continue to remind Congress of our strong support among Republican and Democratic voters, in rural and urban areas across every region of the country. We have always had support from both parties in Congress, and will again make clear what the public receives in return for federal funding for public broadcasting. The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse,” the statement read. © Provided by Variety

In a separate statement, NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Chairman Jane Chu wrote, “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.”

The Directors Guild, Screen Actors Guild, and Writers Guilds of America issued a joint statement in support:

The DGA, SAG-AFTRA and WGA West and East—as the Guilds representing creators and performers in American film, television, radio, sound recordings and digital media—urge our nation’s leaders to preserve funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As a source of inspiration, action and economic growth our country’s creative arts are integral to our culture, our American identity and our democracy. Access to the arts has fueled generations of great Americans, uplifted communities and helped heal our nation’s greatest divides. Cutting federal support of these programs will not only hurt artists and those who benefit from their work, it will also send a damaging message to future generations about the power of art and its place in our culture.

An online petition to support federal funding of the arts has already received over 230,000 signatures.

Actors and artists took to social media to denounce the proposed budget cuts. #SaveTheNEA continues to be a trending hashtag.

Actor Kal Penn posted a call to action writing, “Proposed Trump #SkinnyBudget eliminates @NEAarts. Tell your representative we need to #SAVEtheNEA. More here: http://bit.ly/2k1vrd3

Author Mark Harris called out the disparity in spending. Trump aims to increase military spending by $54 billion.

Producer/writer Mike Schur, under his Ken Tremendous pseudonym, agreed.

David Simon also posted a link to the Washington Post’s breakdown of the proposed budget cuts, asking, “Anybody sentient among the no-difference-between-Clinton-and-Trump crowd that wants to take a crack at this?”

Actress Sophia Bush showed support of PBS and NPR, tweeting, “Let’s keep them going.”

A number of notable poets weighed in as well.

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