Dramatists Guild Pledges 'Forceful Response' to Defend NEA
BWW reported this week via The Hill that the Trump Administration plans to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Along with significant cuts to the departments of Commerce and Energy, Transportation, Justice and State, the administration also plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities entirely. BWW's article received an overwhelming response from our readers, prompting many to take to our Facebook page to express their anger and sadness over the possibility that the NEA may be eliminated.
Joining the chorus is The Dramatists Guild of America, which has released a statement to members noting:
Dear Fellow Dramatists Guild Member,
Your Guild is acutely aware of newspaper reports stating that the incoming Trump administration wants to slash the Federal budget with a host of ill-conceived cuts. Notable among these is proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts.
We recognize that this is a specious, even disingenuous idea since the Endowment is .003 percent of the national budget; abolishing it will do little to curb spending. On the contrary; such action will do us all financial harm, as we've seen again and again that the arts prove themselves a worthy investment. Theatre alone contributes roughly $7.1 billion to the national economy.
Destroying the endowment isn't only misguided fiscal policy; it would also have catastrophic symbolic impact as well. It would render concrete the world's suspicion that our nation is becoming increasingly anti-cultural, anti-intellectual, and anti-humanitarian. It will demoralize those Americans who already feel under siege by the new administration. It will demonize artists, the true arbiters of our national and spiritual conscience.
The arts promote empathy, nourish the spirit, and increase our understanding of complex, eternal truths. Our government should value them as central to our national wellbeing. To do less is to invite a further slide into the rancor and vulgarity that increasingly constitutes our national discourse.
The Dramatists Guild will continue to monitor the situation closely. We are strategizing a rigorous, forceful response should plans to eradicate the NEA move forward. In the meantime, we urge you-American dramatists-to use your authorial gifts to address these and other troubling political developments on stages all across this country.
President, The Dramatists Guild of America
The Dramatists Guild of America was established over eighty years ago, and is the only professional association which advances the interests of playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists writing for the living stage. The Guild has over 6,000 members nationwide, from beginning writers to the most prominent authors represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theaters.
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