Actress Julie Andrews slammed Donald Trump’s first federal budget for targeting the arts with drastic budget cuts.
In an op-ed for CNN, Andrews wrote:
“Decades worth of research attests to the fact that the arts are among the most profoundly important and valuable ways to improve learning and promote success, from early childhood through adulthood. And yet, the arts are the first to go when the budget ax falls.
Now, with the shifting priorities of our new presidential administration, artists and art organizations are at serious risk of losing the support they need to their invaluable work.
This is mind-boggling to us, considering how much the arts benefit our lives and world. They foster collaboration and creativity, essential skills for navigating in the workplace and surviving in a challenging world.”
Andrews added that the arts provide benefits beyond cultural enrichment, entertainment, and creative expression.
“They’re also good for business: They spur urban renewal, promote tourism and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity annually,” the Mary Poppins actress said.
“We therefore respectfully request that every member of our society – individuals, educators, administrators, business leaders – do everything possible to preserve and advance this most precious and essential resource, and demand that our elected representatives do the same.”
Trump earlier Thursday released a federal budget blueprint calling for a dramatic reduction of the government.
The president’s outline reportedly calls for eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in their entirety.
The NEA secured $148 million from the federal government in 2016, roughly the same amount requested by the NEH.
Presidential budget requests are only a guidance for Congress, and lawmakers frequently use their control over the power of the purse to pass their own versions instead.