Last night, a new federal budget blueprint was proposed. It has taken an unprecedented course of action in calling for the entire elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
These cuts would have a profound impact upon the arts, culture and history sectors, including archives, museums, libraries, and public media. The NEH, NEA, CPB and IMLS all provide significant funding to the preservation of and access to our audiovisual heritage. While it represents a minuscule portion of the national budget, this funding plays a critical role in a cultural economy that leverages federal stimulus to raise state, local, and private funding. The loss of federal funds would have a deep and profound impact.
What is not yet known is the budgets for many agencies with archives and history-related programs, including National Archives and Records Administration, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, history and civics grants at the Department of Education, or other history and cultural-related programs at the National Park Service.
Over the next several months, Congress will be responsible for determining funding levels for fiscal year 2018. Arts and culture have many friends in Congress on both sides of the aisle, and there is still an opportunity to reverse the proposal to eliminate these small but important investments made by the federal government.
Regardless of your personal politics or party affiliation, AMIA urges you to make your views known: it is critical that you contact your representatives to express your views on the importance of this funding for the persistence of moving image heritage and resources for our field.