Following the announcement that President Donald Trump proposed the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of his federal budget plan, Kickstarter co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler took to the crowdfunding giant’s blog to express how important the National Endowment for the Arts is.
“The arts strengthen society, and greatly inform who we are and who we’ll become. The NEA plays no small role in helping the arts fulfill that promise. Each year it funds thousands of concerts, readings, performances, and exhibitions across all 50 states. In 2016 that included a dance festival in Alabama, a new museum near where I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, an architecture and design competition in Texas, an arts festival in Kentucky, and so much more.
“Eliminating the NEA would eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars in support of working artists. For every dollar of the endowment’s $140 million budget that it awards in grants, it generates nearly ten times as much in matching support. But beyond money, the NEA is a powerful symbol of the meaning the work of artists brings to all of our lives, the value we place in our shared cultural heritage, and a public reminder that we have the power to shape the world we inhabit.”
Stickler also revealed:
“When The New York Times called Kickstarter ‘the people’s NEA’ a few years back, we were asked whether we saw ourselves as somehow in opposition to the NEA — a potential alternative to federal funding of the arts. Not at all. Kickstarter is a mission-driven Public Benefit Corporation working to help artists live sustainable lives. We know a greater diversity of funding sources means a greater likelihood that creators will create. And in our view of the future, the world is better off with the NEA in it.”
Stickler added that while the federal budget proposal that calls for the NEA’s elimination is disheartening, he and his team hope that congress’ voice renewed commitment to the arts and encouraged readers to contact their congresspersons and express support for the organization.