March 16, 2017

Taking a stand for the arts

OMCA’s statement on proposed cuts to the NEA, NEH, and IMLS

By Lori Fogarty, Director and CEO

March 16, 2017

Today, President Trump released his preliminary budget that includes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Oakland Museum of California stands strongly against these cuts and joins with other museums, theaters, symphonies, cultural centers, academic institutions, and, most importantly, all Americans who value the role of the arts and humanities in their own lives and in the wellbeing of their communities.

The arts and humanities are core to the heart and soul of what it means to be an American and, indeed, a global citizen. Museums offer arts and humanities programs for every age and demographic, and these programs allow us to share our stories, express our creativity, connect to our neighbors, and expand our understanding of the world and of ourselves. Beyond their value to our minds and spirits, arts and humanities organizations provide jobs to millions of people across the country.

The NEA, NEH, and IMLS are essential partners in this work, providing grants to many types of nonprofit organizations and helping bring the arts and humanities to every part of America, from cities to rural areas. In just the last two years, the NEA and NEH have provided over $5 million to California museums across the state. While museums, including OMCA, receive only a very small fraction of their funding from the federal government, we speak out in support of many other cultural organizations for whom these funds are vital. 

The federal budget process is a protracted one and, over the next few months, the budget will be developed and reviewed by both houses of Congress. At this time, we are urging Congress, where there has been strong bipartisan support for many years for the NEA, NEH and IMLS, to continue funding these agencies. Should these agencies come under serious threat within the House of Representatives or Senate, we will alert OMCA Members and other constituencies and ask for your direct assistance in speaking to our legislators about the importance of the arts and culture to our community and to our vibrant democracy.

Related articles in the news:
New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
East Bay Express