President Trump promised to defund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which would cause “cultural organizations across New York City [to] lose millions of dollars of funding, threatening jobs, tourism, and arts education programs,” according to a new report.
In the report released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, the “cultural capital of the world” received $233 million in NEA funding in the last 16 years, including $21 million for organizations specifically providing arts education.
“From Broadway to Bed-Stuy, cultural groups add to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and the fabric of our city,” Stringer said. “They educate our children, broaden their minds, and teach them to think critically. It would simply be wrong for The White House to make the arts its latest target. Our kids and our communities would be hurt the most.”
Arts education is critical to supporting our kids. And if the White House cuts those dollars, then it affects children across this country. pic.twitter.com/nF1VyQywxw— Scott M. Stringer (@scottmstringer) March 9, 2017
From 2000 to 2016, the NEA granted $21 million to organizations specifically providing arts education in New York City, according to the report.
However, more than simply education, Stringer said should NEA funding —which amounts to 0.0037 percent of federal spending —be cut, it could negatively impact the city’s economy.
During 2015, nearly half of all tourists, about 30 million individuals, visited cultural organizations in the city, spending $4.2 billion on arts, recreation, and entertainment, Stringer’s office said.
The city’s tourism industry sustains more than 375,000 jobs overall, the office added.
“Every child, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, deserves not only food, clothing, a home and a quality education — every child deserves the arts,” Tim Lord, co-executive director of DreamYard, an arts education organization in the Bronx, said. “Poetry, music, theater, visual and digital arts shape us; they give us the skills to collaborate, problem solve and imagine the future; they give us voice and allow us to talk back to the world.
“The National Endowment for the Arts' funding levels the playing field in this country. NEA funding attracts additional funding to quality programs and makes it possible for us to dream of an equitable future for all young people, regardless of race, class or geography.”
See below to read the full report or listen to the audio of Stringer’s press conference.