The White House has proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in this year’s budget. These agencies, which support state arts and humanities councils and nonprofit organizations large and small, in every state in the union, including many here in the Quad-Cities, make up a tiny part of the federal budget, yet their impact is huge. Grants from the NEA, NEH and IMLS provide the resources to begin projects that then attract private funding. Through the state arts and humanities councils, the NEA and NEH support local organizations that bring art and history into schools, often replacing programs lost due to budget cuts.
It is an accepted fact that the arts and humanities are an economic driver and a unique and important educational and social resource. They foster inquiry, discussion and creative thinking. The Quad-Cities region is blessed with a vital and diverse community of arts and culture organizations providing history, science, theater, music and art experiences to thousands of local citizens of all backgrounds each year.
Eliminating these agencies will have a chilling effect on local programs and on private support. If your life in the Quad-Cities has been made brighter through attendance at a museum, a concert, a dance, or a play, if your children have received the gift of a free performance by a standout musician, or have visited a museum with their class, we need you to stand with us. Please contact your elected representatives now and let them know that the arts and humanities are worthwhile to all Americans.
Editor's note: Schiffer is director of Figge Art Museum. This letters was co-signed by Joedy Cook, Ballet Quad-Cities; Carmen Darland, Quad-City Arts; Kim Findlay, Putnam Museum and Science Center; Kelly Lao, German American Heritage Center; Ben Loeb, Quad-City Symphony Orchestra; and Deb Sandry-Powers, River Music Experience.