March 10, 2017

Whitehouse Underscores Support for Arts in RI Amid Potential Trump Cuts

Cuts to arts, humanities funding could affect more than 12,000 employed in RI’s arts sector

East Providence, RI – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse this morning met with more than eighty representatives of local arts organizations and businesses at the Rhode Island Philharmonic’s Carter Center for Music Education in East Providence to hear firsthand how federal funding for the arts contributes to Rhode Island’s economy.  Recent news reports suggest the Trump administration is weighing the elimination of funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which help support Rhode Island’s creative sector.

“We are fortunate to have a disproportionate amount of world-class creative talent in Rhode Island, which pays dividends to our quality of life and our local economy,” said Whitehouse.  “While investments in the arts and humanities represent only a tiny sliver of the federal budget, these funds can have a multiplying effect on Rhode Island jobs and the economy.  I will fight to protect our creative sector from any funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration.”

The NEA and NEH combined only accounted for about .006 percent of the federal budget in 2016, yet the endowments’ value to the local economy is significant.  From 2014 through 2016, Rhode Island museums and other art institutions received $2.2 million in NEA funds and $1.8 million in NEH funds.  More than 2,500 arts-related businesses employed over 12,000 people in Rhode Island in 2015, according to the nonprofit Americans for the Arts.

“Senator Whitehouse has always been a strong supporter of the arts and humanities, both here in Rhode Island and at the federal level,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.  “We’re delighted that he would join us in a community conversation about the challenges we all currently face over proposed cuts to support for the arts and humanities, and we look forward to his leadership in this area.”

President Trump’s FY 2018 budget proposal is expected to be released later this month. 


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