Art advocates take aim at Washington, fight for NEA, NEH funding

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Arts advocates take over Washington D.C. fighting for their programming.
Mari Davies, Executive Director of the Toledo Ballet joined them. As funding for her theater is on the chopping block.

“We receive money from the Ohio Arts Council in Columbus which in turn receives funding from the NEA and because we get funding like that it affords us opportunities for us to make dance in our case available to as many people as possible," Davies said.

In President Trump’s proposed budget, funding for the National Endowment of the Arts and National Endowment of the Humanities would be eliminated. She said the move would hurt not just the theater but also the entire Toledo community.

“The arts because they exploded are really are being celebrated in Toledo, you feel it in the energy of the people of the community who go down and have dinner and come to the nut cracker, go to the Valentine Theater," Davies added.

It’s not just the theaters that could be impacted; 30,000 museums from zoos to historic sites are in danger.

Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums said,
“funding is not critical perhaps to the operations but critical to the programming they provide. And so that’s our concern so the programming that is really serving people across the country is at risk.”

Museums like the Corning Museum of Glass in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s home state of New York could see the effects.

“We know as a very diverse state that where the art funding means the most is in our rural communities. In communities with small local museums that is central for the education of youth in those communities," Gillibrand added.

That’s why she joined 24 other bipartisan senators in writing this letter to President Trump, to save the 704 billion dollar industry. Davies said she remains confident the lawmakers will see the importance of the arts. She said, after all, the word “art” is in “bipartisan.”

“I’m just feeling really optimistic what I’ve heard here today there’s so much inspiration there’s so much confirmation of the value of the arts in virtually every aspect of American society and culture.”

Davies and 700 other arts advocates will be heading to Capitol Hill Tuesday to start knocking on doors hoping to gain that bipartisan support.

Supporters of the proposed budget say President Trump is doing what he promised in the campaign.

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