The news has been flooded with all of the changes that newly elected President Trump is making. From moving forward with the controversial pipelines to building his wall and cutting federal spending in huge ways, he’s surely making waves. Many people agree with him and many people disagree with him.
However, no matter which side you’re on, President Trump is sitting in the White House signing executive orders and asking Congress to carry out his ideas. His plans could easily become a reality. Being informed and understanding what role you play in this important transition period is crucial. In terms of the arts community, these are some of the changes that you can expect to see, and how they may affect you.
Federal Spending on Arts Will Be Cut
Donald Trump plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He’s also looking to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. His reasons for doing so seem to be economical. However, these organizations combined attribute to only 0.016 of the total United States budget. Aside from the flawed logic, Trump’s plans have very real implications for the American community.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting helps fund PBS and NPR, along with hundreds of TV stations and thousands of radio stations. The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities promotes artistic creativity, cultural value, innovation and excellence through grants and programs. The loss of these organizations will mean the loss of funding for a large number of projects, such as urban design projects that are working to better communities.
With this reality of federal spending cuts, the way in which Americans express themselves and the extent to which citizens are able to enjoy entertainment and art will change. It’s important to be aware of the upcoming changes that could occur, and know how to adapt to them.
Fundraising Will Increase
Without grants, projects that require funding aren’t just going to go away. People will still want to pursue projects to make their communities better or to spread their message. Without the ability to apply for federal grants, many people may turn to traditional fundraising.
Walking door-to-door or asking friends online to support your cause might be the new reality. If this is the case, supporting each other will be crucial. Crowdfunding pages are already fairly popular as people try to raise money for causes and projects that they’re passionate about. A rise in these types of fundraisers, as well as door-to-door campaigns, may become the new norm.
There will also mostly likely be an increase in businesses asking for donations. It’s possible consumers will pay for what used to be free, especially from businesses affected by these cuts. Without federal money, people will have to make ends meet somehow in order to keep the companies that we love alive. Contributing as an individual can make all the difference for your favorite radio station or newspaper.
So, when your neighbor asks you to buy some cookies so she can pursue her goal of painting murals throughout the neighborhood, you might want to help her out. Federal grants certainly aren’t the only way to make these projects come to life.
People Will Rally Around the Causes They Believe In
Even if the situation surrounding the arts seems bleak, there are always people around you who want to support the same causes you do. There are activists for the arts all over the place, and there have been for ages. The arts and humanities have, believe it or not, been under attack for quite some time. Yet somehow they still survive. How? Because there are enough people who believe in the power of the arts and humanities to put their time and energy into keeping these programs active.
If Trump moves ahead with his plans, you can bet you’ll see rallies, petitions and groups of activists who are fighting for the same thing you believe in. Join these groups to make a difference. Again, federal funding may make it easier to do projects and give the arts enough support, but there are other ways to make sure the arts and humanities stay alive. Get involved with the other people who believe in this cause.
Arts Programs in Schools Will Continue to Evolve
As mentioned previously, funding for the arts has been diminishing for years now. Donald Trump isn’t the first person to suggest making these huge cuts to the arts and humanities. Especially in schools, arts programs have been suffering cuts for as long as most of us can remember. The important thing is that, amidst all of these cuts, the citizens don’t adopt a defeatist attitude.
There are ways to keep the arts alive in schools and at home. Encourage your children to be creative without the fancy supplies or classes. Give them a cardboard box and some markers and let them build a spaceship. Show them how to use ordinary items and turn them into art. Create sculptures out of toothpaste. Teach them to express their ideas without needing common art supplies. Encourage them to be outside thinkers. Overall, let them express their creativity freely.
Even without federal money, people can still be creative and make a difference. It may seem impossible, but it truly isn’t. By supporting what you believe in, encouraging others and sharing your own creativity with the world, you can help fill the void that these federal budget cuts are creating.
Money doesn’t make creativity — artists do.