Eliminating Federal Funding for the Arts Means Fewer Opportunities for Minnesota Students, Artists

Saint Paul, MN (March 16, 2017) – Today, President Trump proposed a federal budget plan that would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.  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 through state arts agencies.

“Giving people the opportunity to be creative helps them create better lives, and in turn creates better communities,” said Dawne Brown White, COMPAS Executive Director. “These cuts mean that people across Minnesota will lose access to the arts, and Minnesota will lose out on the economic benefit that comes from giving professional artists the opportunity to teach their craft. This funding helps provide opportunities for creativity to people who do not have the means to pay for instruction, including students with special needs, older adults, and women living in domestic violence shelters.”

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.

COMPAS encourages Minnesotans concerned over this proposed cut to contact their federal elected representatives and encourage them to maintain funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. People can identify and contact their elected representatives by going to house.gov and senate.gov.


COMPAS uses the arts to unleash the creativity within all of us, so that we can create better lives and better communities. The staff and 100+ artists on its roster are experienced innovators in creative, art-filled learning and have been cited for excellence by the Presidential Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the MN Dept of Education, the NEA and others. Programs are held at schools, libraries, hospitals, shelters and other community centers. Artists hail from over 40 different cultural backgrounds and engage people in award-winning art-creation experiences in a variety of literary, musical, visual and performing art genres. For more information about COMPAS, please visit COMPAS.org.


COMPAS ArtsWork program apprentice Cristina Lora works to revitalize a train trestle overpass in Saint Paul’s North End. Photo credit Jon Reynolds, VENN Design & Media


COMPAS Teaching Artist Frank Sentwali works with a class at Rochester STEM Academy, helping students share their stories and learn public presentation skills through spoken word poetry. Photo credit Jon Reynolds, VENN Design & Media


A student at the Minnesota School for the Blind practices drumming as part of an African drumming class with COMPAS artist Christian Adeti.

For high-resolution copies of these photos, download here, or contact Juliana@compas.org

Juliana Wilkins
Director of External Relations
O 651.292.4313
C 504.906.5282