Arts Advocates Pin Hope on Joe Biden for ‘Astronomical Increase’ in Funding

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - JANUARY 08: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks after h
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Funding for the arts has been described as “steady” under the Trump administration, according to arts advocates, but now that Joe Biden will be in the White House, they are hoping for an “astronomical increase.”

Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) reported on the push for arts funding from the Biden administration, including its own funding.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRC), Congress appropriated $445 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2019.

“The National Endowment for the Arts gives grants to organizations across the country — from big ones like Lincoln Center and NPR to small ones like the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture,” NPR reported.

NPR interviewed Margie Reese, who lives in Texas and obtained an NEA grant to paint murals in “economically distressed areas”:

“Steady” is the word Reese uses to describe federal arts funding under President Trump. Even though each of his budgets proposed eliminating the arts and humanities endowments — as well as the Institute of Museum and Library Services — Congress rejected the cuts.

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts released a report that said the arts contributed 4.5 percent to the country’s GDP in 2017. That’s more than agriculture and transportation. Arts advocate Charles Segars, head of the Ovation TV network, says it’s time for the arts to be taken just as seriously by the White House, by creating a cabinet level Secretary of Arts and Culture.

NPR interviewed Kal Penn, who was appointed by Barack Obama to head the president’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, which he said was not relaunched under Trump.

Penn told NPR he hopes the arts see an “astronomical increase” under the Biden administration.

“When you say, ok, well, why did you spend all this money to save this theater — yes, you’re saving the theater, and maybe you’re saving the 500 jobs that the theater provides for the local community, but you’re also then saving the restaurants that people go to the night of the show,” Penn said. “You’re saving the hotels that the visiting artists stay at. You’re saving, you know, the parking facility.”

“And it may sound like very little, but when you when you start to multiply that by the numbers of businesses like this that exist around the country, you can see why investing in in the arts really makes economic sense,” Penn said.

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