Friday, April 08, 2011

An open letter to the United States Congress from actor/director Tim Robbins

Americans for the Arts blog, 4/7/11

"I am one amongst many Americans who have benefited greatly from programs the NEA has supported over the 46 years of its existence. But recently a reactionary voice has been amplified in this country that argues that arts funding is superfluous, an indulgent drain on the economy. Not only is this reactionary voice wholeheartedly misguided and deceptive but this voice threatens the future cultural and economic life of this country. The simple truth is that people spend money when they attend arts events. Why would anyone in his or her right mind eliminate funding to a proven income generating economic engine? What is the end game here? What is the vision of those that would deprive children of the chance to see great paintings, or to hear the music of Mozart or experience the theater of Shakespeare? What kind of society are they imagining? And what are we saying about ourselves if we allow this to happen? A small amount of narrow-minded people with a loud megaphone are calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. They do not represent the majority of this country. I would like to believe that we can reach out to the reasonable, adult leaders of this country in both political parties that see the legitimacy and importance of the NEA. It would be tragic to give up on the idea that a nation's support of innovative artistic expression is a necessary component to its future relevance and its ultimate brilliance. Do we really want to be known from this point forward as the only advanced society in the world that completely disregards the importance of art? Is this to be the legacy of the 112th Congress? "

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