“The arts and sciences are essential to the prosperity of the state and to the ornament and happiness of human life.” – George Washington
The arts inspire, educate, and bring us joy. Storytelling brings ideas and history to life. The arts and humanities are not just important in and of themselves, but for the connections they build with each other, and to every other aspect of our lives. We heard that the new administration is targeting the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities for budget cuts – citing them as “waste.”
The impact of art is everywhere. Take the recent popularity of Hidden Figures, both the book and its subsequent Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated movie. Writing the book took not only the usual creativity and hard work of sharing history in a compelling way, but also the research and dedication of unearthing this story that was untold for so many years. The film (also art!) shone an even brighter light on this important story, bringing it to even more people. It is the story of groundbreaking scientific progress made by a group of exceptional women of color. It is a story of breaking down barriers, a story of science and human brainpower, and a story of hardworking American ingenuity.
Still not inspired by the impact of this vibrant mixture of art and history? 180 young women in Seattle sure were. According to an article via Makers, “After a four-hour event that featured a special presentation of “Hidden Figures,” followed by speeches from successful women in science-based fields, 180 female students ranging from fifth to 12th grade walked out of a theater in Seattle excited to pursue future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).” That is art in action: inspiring, enriching, sparking change and connecting people to their world. (More women in STEM isn’t too shabby, either!)
When you take away opportunities for artists, creators, and researchers to share their stories, you take away all of the potential far-reaching impact of those stories. Furthermore, according to Fortune, “The NEA has already weathered significant budget cuts following the recession — their funding is 14 percent lower than in 2010, a $21.5 million drop to $146 million in 2015. The combined budgets of the NEH and NEA account for just over .002 percent of federal discretionary spending. Both organizations administer grants to support the arts and humanities in each congressional district in the country.”
The National Humanities Alliance recognizes that the impact of the arts and cultural endeavors is both widespread and hard to quantify. In their recent article arguing against budget cuts to the NEH, they shared some heartening news. “Consistently, Members of Congress have been compelled by advocacy that points out that, through a rigorous peer-review process, NEH funds cutting-edge research, museum exhibits that reach all parts of the country, and cultural preservation of local heritage that would otherwise be lost.”
What’s more, this article pointed out that there are also incredible economic benefits attributed to the arts. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts and cultural production contributed more than $704 billion to the U.S. Economy — this accounts for 4.2% of the United States GDP and is greater than the contributions of the construction ($586.7 billion), transportation and, warehousing ($464.1 billion) industries.”
You can take action to show your support of the arts by signing this petition to preserve the NEA and NEH.
We believe that arts and humanities are essential to humanity, progress, education and success. We give our sincere thanks to all of you who have joined us in the belief that ART MATTERS and supported Arts Council Santa Cruz County in the work we are doing throughout the county. You are fueling creativity and vibrancy in our community.