The Donald Trump Administration's latest attempt to zero out funding for the arts drew immediate reaction from the folks who help bring those arts to life.
The President's 2018 budget again proposes eliminating the $148 million annual outlay—the same funding that Congress in its omnibus appropriations bill actually increased by $2 million for 2017 after the President tried to eliminate it.
Kate Shindle—president of Actors' Equity Association, which represents actors and stage managers—pointed out that the NEA funds "middle class arts jobs" in every congressional district.
"The last thing we need to do is slash a program that creates and sustains jobs in small and regional theaters all over America," Shindle said. "Thousands of our members have already spoken up about how the NEA is an economic lifeline in so many places. Members of Congress heard us loud and clear when they decided to maintain the NEA’s funding for the rest of 2017. As Congress takes up the new budget, Actors’ Equity will continue our fight to protect the NEA’s critical seed funding that helps productions get off the ground in small and regional theaters.”