This morning, the White House released its proposed budget for FY2018. While this is only the first of many steps in the eventual passage of a federal budget, it lays out the administration's priorities that will be negotiated with Congress. In his first budget, President Trump has proposed a full elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and other critical pillars of American arts and culture.
The final budget will be written by and passed by Congress over the next few months, which means that NOW is the most important time to act. As someone invested in the arts as a vital aspect of society, here are a few actions you can take right now.
Arts Advocacy Day. The national Arts Advocacy Day will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 20-21. South Arts is a proud Co-Sponsor and will have some of our team there along with countless other supporters from around the country. If you can make it, please visit the website for more information. We will have more information to share with you following Advocacy Day next week.
Contact your legislators. Your Senators and Representatives have the "power of the purse." They will write and pass the final budget, so it is critical that they hear from constituents about priorities. Share your stories expressing the impact of federal dollars and leadership in communities large and small throughout the country. The most impactful ways to share your priorities with Congress are through direct communication - meeting with them or their staff in person or a direct phone call. Emails and social media are also helpful, fast ways for constituents to communicate with legislators. And please encourage any appropriate colleagues, constituents, and stakeholders who understand the public value of the arts to do the same. This helpful tool can assist you in finding the contact information for your elected officials.
Keep up with the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. Please consider subscribing to and, if you can, supporting the Arts Action Fund. Their newsletters contain helpful tips for communicating with legislators and stakeholders, the current status of the budget, and other pertinent timely actions. They have created a very fast and easy tool to send customizable emails directly to your legislators.
I am confident that the support from citizens in the South will be loud and influential. Thank you for being part of the South Arts family and for sharing the vision that the arts are one of our core values as Americans.