Save the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities: What You Can Do
The Endowments have been on the budget chopping block before. They survived because caring citizens who benefit from their programs and believe that supporting the arts and humanities makes us stronger as a nation have worked to save them.
Take Action to save the NEA and the NEH: PEN America’s step-by-step resource guide below will prepare you to stand up for federal arts funding.
Step One: Find out more about NEA and NEH-supported projects in your district.
You can look up projects funded by the Endowments quickly and easily online:
Learn even more by checking out your state’s Humanities Council (all of which receive some funding from the NEH).
Step Two: Tell your elected officials that you want them to protect the NEA and the NEH, and why the Endowments are so important.
Congressional representatives around the country are holding town hall meetings in their districts during the recess. The Resistance Calendar and the Town Hall Project have compiled online listings where you can find a gathering in your district.
You can also call your representatives’ offices, or request an in-person meeting with them. Calling their offices is more effective than emailing or sending a message on social media. The U.S. House of Representatives maintains a public directory to help you reach your congressperson. (Not sure who your representative is? You can find them here).
Here are a few suggested questions to ask at a town hall to make sure your elected officials know how important it is to keep the NEA and the NEH:
- Mr./Mrs. Representative, I’m concerned by President Trump’s plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These Endowments support arts, culture, and scholarship in all 50 states. I want to tell you about one of the programs that the NEA/NEH funds in our community: (Describe one of the projects funded in your community in one or two sentences here). Will you commit to supporting this project, and thousands of others like it across the country, and to oppose any budget that seeks to eliminate the NEA or the NEH?
- Mr./Mrs. Representative, I’m concerned by President Trump’s plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These institutions fund important projects like arts therapy for our veterans, community renewal projects, and preservation of cultural heritage materials in the face of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Total funding for both Endowments is less than 0.001 percent of the federal budget. Will you commit to opposing any budget that eliminates these vital institutions?
Below is a sample phone script:
- Hi, my name is ______, I’m a constituent from [give your city and zip code]. I’m calling because I strongly support the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the important artistic, cultural, and scholarly projects they support. I expect [representative/senator’s name] to make sure the Endowments are fully funded in this year’s budget so they can continue their important work. Thank you for the work that you do.
Step 3: Get your friends involved
Let your friends know more about the great stuff the NEA and the NEH do by sharing this cool visual representation of all NEA-funded projects, created by Artist Tega Brain, on your social media.
Just because phone calls are more effective than Tweets to contact your representatives doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t post, too! After you call or attend a town hall, encourage your followers to do the same by sharing your experience online.
Thank you for defending the NEA/NEH!