I can hear the slam of the blade on the chopping block! What did “art” ever do to Trump! How can anyone dislike art and the many advantages and benefits it has? Its reported that our new President will be cutting out entirely the National Endowment for the Arts (N.E.A) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (N.E.H.). My day job is working in the Curatorial department at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The MFAH is funded partly by these two organizations. I’ve held my position for 10 years and wonder what or where I would go after this? Its a very scary and real thing, knowing that if the Museum doesn’t have funding, that cuts would need to be made and hundred of us would lose our jobs. I think about Trump’s dilemma (which I whole-heartedly support) of trying to fix the budget, but it’s just completely absurd to think that the cuts for the arts would do anything to fix the deficit. We are talking about a measly .016 percent of the total U.S. budget that would benefit from the cutting of these organizations.
I’ve occasionally fantasized about being a full-time artist or writer and what would that be like? Would I be able to support myself and pay my bills if I didn’t have a full-time job? And if at all, I would have access to affordable insurance to continue to get my much needed monthly medications? I think about all the programs that receive funding for afterschool programs in the arts, music, theatre, etc. for our school age children and how those will also be cut. I think about every museum and cultural center, small and large that will go away. Then I have nightmares about our children learning only academics, science, engineering, logistics and POLITICS; like little stressed-out robots. And I wonder if not being able to nurture their creative side, as we’ve always been able to do…… will that change them as humans? Would it make them less compassionate and empathetic? The answers to these questions may come too late.