PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed opposes President Trump’s effort to zero out the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provide federal grants for state and local arts and cultural organizations and libraries and museums. 

Tomorrow, Friday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m., Senator Reed will join the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), representatives of local arts organizations and creative businesses, and humanities advocates for a forum on the need to save NEA, NEH, and federal funding to support America’s museums and libraries.  The event will be held in the large auditorium of the world renowned Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and several hundred participants are expected to attend.

Earlier this year, Senator Reed and 23 U.S. Senators from both sides of the aisle sent a bipartisan letter urging the Trump Administration to keep federal funding accessible for the arts and humanities.  The 24 Senators noted that: “The ideals of these agencies are enshrined in our Constitution as a fundamental tenet of American civil society. Article I, Section 8 explicitly empowers the United States Congress to promote the “Progress of Science and useful Arts.” The importance of federal support for these activities inherently aligns with the founding principles of this country. Federal support for the arts and humanities is essential to our education system, economy, and who we are as a nation.  We hope you will keep this in mind as you consider proposals that support these fundamental American institutions.”  They also noted that: “The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector is a $704 billion industry, or 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP. The nonprofit arts industry alone produces $135 billion in economic activity annually and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue. The arts spur tourism, prepare our students for the innovative thinking required in the 21st century workplace, and employ more than 4 million people in the creative industries nationally.”

However, in his 2018 Budget Blueprint, issued today, President Trump proposes eliminating NEA and NEH, as well as IMLS.  Senator Reed has vowed to oppose the President’s budget.

Former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) was a driving force behind the establishment of both NEA and NEH, and today, Senator Reed is a leading champion on the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees NEA, NEH, and IMLS.  Since 2014, Rhode Island has received over $6 million from the two National Endowments, including approximately $4 million in formula funding to the Rhode Island Council for the Arts and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.  During this same period, the state has also received over $5.2 million in federal funds for libraries and museums through IMLS.  These critical resources help build stronger communities, enhance education, and boost economic growth through arts and cultural engagement.

This meeting is one of a series RISCA is holding in different communities with each of the four members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation.  Click here to RSVP and join the conversation.

WHO: U.S. Senator Jack Reed
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA)

WHEN: Friday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: RISD Auditorium
Providence River Greenway