Yesterday, Donald Trump’s administration proposed eliminating four crucial U.S. cultural agencies — 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. The effects of these cuts would be devastating both to artists and teachers and the communities they serve.
For example, the CPB funds more than 1,000 public radio stations and more than 300 public television stations. The Institute of Museum and Library Services support more than 123,000 libraries and more than 35,000 museums.
Here are just a few of the sorts of projects that have been supported by these agencies and that would face mortal danger as a result of these proposed cuts.
1)THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
More than half a million dollars of NEH funding has gone to the preservation and publication of The Dead Sea Scrolls.
2) HISTORIC MOVIES
The National Film Preservation Foundation, which has received over $1 million from the NEH, has helped to preserve more than 2,000 films. Among these films are:
Around New York (1949)
Photo League member Edward Schwartz’s documentary of daily life on New York’s Lower East Side
At Maxwell Street (1984)
Chicago filmmaker Tom Palazzolo’s profile of the famed Chicago street and its denizens.
The Bernstein Home Movies (1947)
The National Center for Jewish film helped to restore footage on board the Exodus as it smuggled Jewish refugees to Palestine.
Bonhiver Films (1939)
These home movies include footage of a Hitler Youth rally.
The Jester (Der Purimspiler) (1937)
A Yiddish-language musical comedy, co-directed by Joseph Green and Jan Nowina-Przybylski (National Center for Jewish Film).
Jews in Poland (1956)
A Yiddish-language documentary about the renewal of Jewish life in Warsaw under Communism.
The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
Howard Alk and Mike Gray’s documentary depicts the story surrounding the titular Black Panther leader, who was assassinated by the Chicago police.
Rabbi Schneerson’s Visit to New York (1929)
This footage depicts the sixth Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic Rabbi arriving at New York harbor,
A Tale of Two Worlds (1948)
This fundraising film of the American Joint Distribution Committee focuses on its international refugee assistance programs.
Tribute to Eddie Cantor (1957)
This fundraising film depicts Eddie Cantor on his 65th birthday and includes remarks by Harry S. Truman on American policy in Israel.
Footage of Warsaw’s Jewish community has been preserved by the National Center for Jewish Film.
The Way of Non-Violence (circa 1950)
An interview with French religious leader André Trocmé, who helped rescue thousands from Nazi persecution.
3) AMERICAN LITERATURE
The Library of America, originally funded with a $1.2 million grant has published, among others:
4) CRITICAL RESEARCH
The Digital Public Library of America, initially launched with a $1 million grant from the NEH, includes among its more than 10 million items, research relevant to The Leo Frank Case and American Theater in the Great Depression.
5) INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS AND WRITERS
Over the years, winners of National Humanities medals have included:
Library of America president Daniel Aaron
Literary critic M.H. Abrams
Historian Ron Chernow
Poet Louise Glück
NPR host Terry Gross
Author Philip Roth
6) VITAL TELEVISION PROGRAMS
To cite just one example out of thousands, The American Masters series on PBS, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, has profiled Stella Adler, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Aaron Copland, Bob Dylan, David Geffen, Marvin Hamlisch, Jascha Heifetz, Allen Ginsberg, Danny Kaye, Sidney Lumet, Norman Mailer, Mike Nichols, Mort Sahl, J. D. Salinger, Maurice Sendak, Philip Roth and Isaac Bashevis Singer among others.
7) NATIONAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
Among the counless organizations that have received grants from the NEA are: A Traveling Jewish Theater, The American Jewish Committee, The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Jewish Arts Foundation (Palm Beach, Florida), Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Jewish Community Center of the Palisades, Jewish Heritage Writing Project, Jewish Museum (New York, NY), Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, Maine Jewish Film Festival, National Center for Jewish Film, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and the Washington, D.C. JCC.