President Trump confirms death penalty for arts funding

President Trump confirms death penalty for arts funding


norman lebrecht

March 16, 2017

As predicted, the US budget plan announced yesterday proposes to abolish four cultural funding agencies. They are the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Will Congress show any heart for the arts?

There’s time still to call your elected representatives.


  • Ungeheuer says:

    The photo Mr. Lebrecht has chosen here is, unfortunately, quite accurate in that it depicts the sorry state nowadays of classical music and opera worldwide or at least in the Western hemisphere. (Not to mention the sorry state of politics and ideology.) Classical music and opera do not need Trump to help kill them, for the marketers and their complicit “artists” have long been conducting their own self-euthanising and self-misoginy. For example, Anna Netrebko, Katherine Jenkins, Khatia Buniatishvili …. surely there are more of them around, more concerned with peddling and perpetuating old fashioned sex and sexism than in the heart and core of their chosen art. Blech.

    • giorgio lalov says:

      yes some great singers is doing ‘STRANGE STAGING’ but traditional opera will never die!!!!

      i think more and more people will turn to the old fashion busness!!!

  • Olassus says:

    Loss of the NEA is no big blow. Arts funding has for decades been essentially at state level. Ditto education.

    As for CPB / PBS, my favorite show, the NewsHour, has sunk so low that I don’t care. Shields and Brooks? Jeesh!

  • Jon H says:

    It sounds like a broken record – but this cut isn’t going to make any difference to the trillion dollar deficit. It’s a symbolic cut – and arts organizations will have to make some adjustments to their fundraising. The time to complain about it is passing and the time to learn how to live without it is upon us.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    It was a delightful evening. She had really enjoyed his company and commitment in all aspects, and in a joyful, relaxed moment after another champagne glass she said to him: ‘Play it again, Don.’

  • Greg says:

    Death Penalty? The National Endowment for the Arts was created in 1965. Good thing, too, since apparently there was no cultural activity going on before then. But seriously, the tiny amount of cash doled out by the government is no doubt welcomed by struggling art organizations and I hope Trump reconsiders his silly attempt at symbolic thrift but the greatest gift any president can bestow on culture at large is a thriving economy. Healthy businesses and prospering citizens have money to spend on donations and tickets. That beats a government hand-out any day.

  • NYMike says:

    The NEA budget is small – probably less than the annual Vienna Staatsoper’s. Nonetheless, it provides SEED MONEY to many arts organizations, helping them to establish themselves while collecting much more funding.

    My wife’s doctoral dissertation was funded by a grant from the NEH, as were many other worthwhile people and projects.

    But hey, who needs cultural funding while the cretins at Trump’s “rallies” keep chanting USA, USA…..

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Now a serious comment: NEA’s cost can be peanuts in terms of the national budget. There should be no reason to abolish the NEA if the means are used in a proper way. Funding musical education is a good way. Sponsoring people producing crucifixes pickled in urine or pornography as art works is not a proper way. Maybe the NEA should be preserved with a better administrative board with a precise and strict mission. Of course some readers may not agree with me, they are entitled to your opinion.

  • Brian says:

    Wonder if that was the same white piano that lurked in the background of Trump’s 60 Minutes interview last November? Rather ironic that it might be from Steinway’s John Lennon series:

  • MSH says:

    No loss. Most of the grants, commissions & awards are politicized anyway. And public radio pays virtually no attention to contemporary composers. It’s all about the soloists, conductors and new releases. Bye bye.

  • Una says:

    So sad … nice guy … so sad, so sad … LOL

  • Audy says:

    Has Trump ever been to a concert? an opera? a library? watched Great Performances? studied Humanities? listened to Public Broadcasting? gone to a gallery or museum even to see or hear or think about what the excitement is all about? If not, how could he possible place any value on the classical side of American culture which was and continues to be brought to our shores by Immigrants . . . . Certainly not with the blinders he wears.
    The only Real American Culture on this continent was here before any other cultures arrived. That culture is the culture of the American Indians their legends, their stories, their history, their dance, their music, their values, and they are still not valued, witness the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    • Steve P says:

      Yes, those native Americans certainly valued a diverse culture. I understand each tribe sought to be inclusive of all other tribes and enjoy the shared benefits of…
      Wait, they slaughtered each other and had to spread across the entire continent to survive the violence. But in their spare time runnng and hiding from each other they managed to produce some exquisite art.
      And if Trump did turn out to secretly be a fanboy of some type of art, I’m sure libs would immediately denounce the art as degenerate.