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We are all entitled to our own various opinions. However, when a topic includes basic human rights, I sure hope that we are all on the same page. It is no secret that many people are now in the position where they must fight for their rights under Donald Trump’s presidency. After Trump’s proposed budget plan for 2018 was released on March 16, a new group of people began to stand up even higher in the face of discrimination – artists. And while the release of this plan may be old news by now, this does not mean that the topic is irrelevant.

It is imperative that artists come together right now to make a difference in a time when their voices matter the most. Artists face an entire life of question from those who do not understand the importance of what they create, and, unfortunately, those who are unreceptive are now overruling the creative minds.

As of 2017, Arts and Cultural Agencies have a measly budget of $1 billion. While this might sound like a high number, in the grand scheme of things, it really is not. And apparently, this budget is still seen as too high for Donald Trump, so in 2018 he wants to cut this budget down to $0. Why is he doing this? Well, he wants to allocate more money in the budget to things like the military and building a wall on our southern border, and in order to do this, he’s willing to sacrifice the arts, something that matters more than we can ever truly understand. 

As a lover of all arts, I am devastated by this news. I have been dancing since the age of four, and currently study dance here at Montclair State. In the end, I am hoping to pursue the art form as a career. Anyone who knows me knows that art is what makes me Madalyn. Dance has shaped who I am as a human being, both inside and outside of the dance studio. I am able to freely express myself to others through movement and dance has helped me get through countless situations in my life, whether they be good or bad. I know that many other fellow artists feel this strongly towards their art form, and this is why it is so upsetting to see the arts being undermined.

My future could be in trouble, and so could many other artists’ lives as the National Endowment for the Arts will be completely cut off from receiving federal funding under this new budget plan. This is extremely devastating for many artists as the Endowment serves and encourages many artists’ careers. And without federal funding, some arts foundations may no longer be able to stay afloat if they are not in a position where they can support themselves.

Other cultural agencies may be in trouble as well. The Washington Post reported that, “The president’s budget would eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget, and the CPB’s $445 million budget, as well as $230 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which supports libraries and museums across the country. Additional cuts could affect the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.” 

Essentially, our artistic culture will become extremely diminished if not (almost) entirely depleted.

While this news seems bleak, it’s important not to get too discouraged. There is still time before all of this goes into action, and in the meantime, your voice can make a difference! And there are so many ways to get involved and speak up for the arts.

Here are some opportunities for advocacy for starters:

  • By following this link, you can send an email to your Congressional representatives to exclaim your support and interest for the arts!
  • If you are an artist yourself, invite lawmakers to performances you may have, or exhibitions you may be hosting!
  • Meet with lawmakers to discuss with them why you value the NEA and tell them about the impact that art has had in your life!
  • Put your social media skills to good use! Tweet, blog, or post a pic to the Gram to showcase the good intentions of the NEA and encourage your followers to advocate for the Endowment as well!

Artists have been leaving impressions on people for centuries. Now, let’s come together and promote the biggest message of all – KEEP THE ARTS ALIVE!

*Cover photo courtesy of Pexels, internal photos courtesy of Pexels and Madalyn Rupprecht*

Madalyn is first and foremost a dancer! She has been dancing since the age of four and is currently a BFA Dance Major at Montclair. As if that doesn't keep her busy enough, she has a double major in Journalism. When she's not dancing or writing, she loves to read poetry, play the ukulele, indulge in some ice cream, or, most importantly, sleep. On their first impression, most people perceive Madalyn as quiet, but she has a feminist fire inside of her and she's not afraid to use it!
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