Supporters of the Arts Council of New Orleans received a stunning plea in their email, courtesy a message from the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. The plea opened with a link to a Thursday (Jan. 19) media report from The Hill that new President Donald Trump’s transition team was planning to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities with other plans to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It went on:
This decades-old proposal from the politically conservative Heritage Foundation and House Republican Study Committee is expected to be included in this year’s Congressional House Budget Resolution, as it has in previous years. However, it would be much more serious if it were also proposed by the Trump Administration. Legislative and executive branch action will start moving very quickly now. We need everyone to be prepared, organized, and educated about what’s at stake. Please help us recruit more free Arts Action Fund members, spread the word, and raise some money to support our grassroots activities. The Arts Action Fund will continue sending important updates to you.”
The story quickly got picked up and shared by multiple other media outlets over the next 24 hours. I’ve contacted the Arts Council of New Orleans about the email (which primarily features Americans for the Arts Action Fund branding) and possible expanding on this messaging and hope to hear back. The Fund bills itself as “America’s largest arts advocacy organization,” and the email plea (signed by Executive Director Nina Ozlu Tunceli) recommended several opportunities to act against this reported move (with links included):
- “1. Share this page with your personal network. Ask at least five of your friends to join the Arts Action Fund for FREE.
- Post onFacebook and Twitter to help rally national support to save the NEA. There is strength in numbers and your social media friends can help.
- Contribute to the Arts Action Fund to help fund our grassroots advocacy campaign to keep the arts alive.
- Register for the Arts Advocacy Dayconference on Capitol Hill on March 20-21, 2017.”
Check out this outline of the story as vetted by the fact- (and often myth-) checking site Snopes, which also noted a Washington Post article that states that the programs represent 0.02 percent of the federal budget. (Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch is quoted in the Washington Post article.)
Hopefully I’ll have more information later.