This week we heard some disturbing news. The federal budget that has been proposed by the current presidential administration would completely eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
There’s no point in beating about the bush -- eliminating funding for the arts means fewer opportunities for Minnesota students and artists. These cuts mean that people across Minnesota will lose access to opportunities to be creative, and Minnesota will lose out on many economic benefits that come from giving professional artists the opportunity to teach their craft.
Currently, more than 40% of NEA funds are sent directly to state arts agencies like the Minnesota State Arts Board. The State Arts Board uses those funds along with funds provided by Minnesota taxpayers to re-grant to arts organizations like COMPAS. If enacted, these proposed budget cuts would have an immediate negative impact on COMPAS artists and students in Minnesota by reducing the amount of funding available to state arts agencies like the Minnesota State Arts Board, which provides significant support for COMPAS programming.
Here are just a few examples of what federal and state funding for the arts supports: It helps older adults like Cookie share their experiences and form new connections through COMPAS’ Artful Aging™ program. It helps us empower more students to find creative new solutions for old problems as they use art as a vehicle for learning and discovery through the Creative Classroom program. It helps homeless and at-risk youth create a brighter future while they learn employment skills and improve our community spaces.
In 2016, COMPAS worked with more than 50,000 Minnesotans, providing access to the arts across Minnesota and in every congressional district. COMPAS leveraged state and federal funding to direct more than $506,000 back into the community through art access programs, and employed more than 100 artists. COMPAS programs provide the equivalent of 29 full-time jobs each year.
And that’s why I’m asking for your support. You can make a big difference by reaching out to your federal elected representatives. Thank them for supporting the arts in the past, and encourage them to maintain funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Share how the arts have impacted your life—and why you think it is important that future generations have the same opportunity.
And I hope you’ll consider a donation to COMPAS today. Your support makes an incredible difference – we truly couldn’t do it without you.
Thank you –
Dawne Brown White