Though the Trump Administration has repeatedly proposed eliminating the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, both agencies enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress. And both expect modest budget increases in next year’s federal budget.
More broadly, the NEA is an essential partner to the Mass Cultural Council in assuring the arts reach all of our people, regardless of geography, race, or socioeconomic status. Its annual state partnership grant to Mass Cultural Council supplements our annual appropriation from the Commonwealth, allowing us to extend grants to nonprofits, local cultural councils, creative youth development, and arts education in schools. Its Folk and Traditional Arts grants allow our nationally-renowned state folklorist, Dr. Maggie Holtzberg, to deepen her work in communities to preserve and advance our rich and diverse cultural heritage. Recently that collaboration resulted in Medford’s Balla Kouyaté being honored with a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship. And the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud grant enables the Huntington Theatre Co. to work with dozens of schools across the state on the inspiring and beloved poetry recitation competition that grows in popularity every year.
It’s easy, and understandable, to be frustrated with our national politics. And we know the NEA, NEH, and other cultural agencies could accomplish so much more with more robust funding. Still, we can be grateful that the National Endowment for the Arts has survived the political storms so it is still there to support and advance our arts community. And we can thank our delegation in the US House and Senate, who are among Congress’ most consistent supporters of federal cultural funding.
Shuchita Rao is a long-time educator of Indian music and culture in the Greater Boston area and a grant recipient from the Sharon Cultural Council. We spoke with her about what it means to share her culture with the broader community.
Through our Community Initiative, Mass Cultural Council works to support all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. Over the last two years, our Cultural Compact pilot program supported a new and innovative approach to elevating arts and culture in communities.
From Artist News to Creative Youth, Community Initiative, and Power of Culture, our email lists are a great way to keep up with the work of Mass Cultural Council and its partners across the Commonwealth.