Essay Example on Ending Arts Funding: Unjustified and Impractical

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1855 Words
Date:  2023-05-23


The current administration is intending to end the funding of arts in the US through NEA and other cultural agencies. According to the government, funding of arts is unnecessary as other sectors require the public funds urgently. However, just like other sectors of the economy, arts require equal or even more supports because of its contribution to the economy of the country. Sources have indicated that arts enable better performance in schools and boost the local economy. In most cases, a nation is judged by the kind of art it creates. For example, an American flag is a unique kind of art. Creativity requires a unique priority because in case the government starves the artists through underfunding, the future of the country would be adversely affected. The artists are one of the categories of smartest and hardworking people who require rewards. Therefore, through public funding, the industry is likely to grow. The creation of the Federal Arts Project Organization during the period of the Great Depression focused on supporting the upcoming and unemployed artists in the country. Since then, the US government has been promoting the art industry through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).It is therefore very critical for US government to either continue allocating the funds to the arts industry or increase the current allocations so that the industry can grow since private allocations are usually unpredictable.

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Why Funding Arts through NEA is crucial to the US

The history of American government support to the art can be traced in 1964 when the National Council on Arts was created (Smolensky 7). In 1965, the National Endowment for the arts was also established, aiming to support and nurture the artists. This legislation was passed in the two houses and was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. However, during the 1980s, the organization was questioned because of quality, value, and its appropriateness (Smolensky 7). Since then, the government has been allocating a considerable amount of funds to the NEA so that it can perform its functions.

Art is very critical when it comes to self-expression, the economy, and learning. The art industry has created a job opportunity for more than 1.3 million people in the country. More so, according to the American Arts Alliance, economic activities related to arts also create $37 billion (Alliance, Art Beat St Pete Arts 11) .With this kind of contribution, the government should consider art as a critical sector of the economy and allocate adequate funds to it. More so, it should support the industry by offering grants, tax holidays, and other forms.

NEA has successfully partnered with local, state, and federal agencies to fund individual artists in the US (Kilian III 17). This way, NEA has played a critical role in alleviating financial stress prevalent in the arts industry. The funding of the arts industry has stimulated the private sector to support the artists as well. The government supports the artists through direct and indirect funding like tax exemptions, donations, and direct financing through National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The current public allocations to NEA are inadequate to conduct daily activities. Even though many controversies have discouraged the public funding of arts in the country, funding of art by the government requires priority because of the many positive gains it provides to the country.

The National Endowment for the art (NEA) usually funds any creativity irrespective of the status of the artist. Even though the organization has experienced a lot of controversies about supporting the elite groups of artists, NEA is very self-conscious nowadays. It promotes multiple creative programs like Creative Forbes Program (Lucassen and Kathleen 7).The organization offers multiple grants to both the elites and non-elite artists equally. This way, it increases community art activities through promoting wellness, health, quality of life for the members of military force, veterans as well as their respective families. More so, NEA has been supporting the Challenge America program, designed to help the communities with low or no access to arts programming. This fund is mainly focused on the non-elite group of artists. However, the funds are inadequate in most cases because of the limited allocations it gets from the federal government.

The opinion that the government has a responsibility to support the arts industry is both interesting and controversial. However, there are many good and practical reasons why the government should support the arts. However, in doing so, it should be careful not to control it because the creativity would otherwise be compromised. The Illinois Arts Council, for example, offers support to different art organizations and festivals (McCarthy 4). The grants help the industry in making the artwork accessible to various parts of the country, especially to those with lower income. They also support both exhibitions and special programs. These programs always require government support because they are essential to the welfare of the country. Private organizations may not fund these programs appropriately.

Public funding does not lower the quality of arts in the US in any way. The NEA has been encouraging creativity by awarding the best performances across the nation. It does not promote copy-pasted forms of art but requires any artist to become original and more creative in his or her production (Huffman 32). Therefore, the output of masterpieces in the arts industry is not encouraged by the government. More so, NEA supports artists to maintain their careers in the industry by all means. It also provides avenues for artist training and experimentation (Huffman, 33). This way, it plays a critical role in reducing unemployment levels in the country. According to Zither 4, the current justification for support of arts in America rests in two dimensions or benefits; instrumental benefits and intrinsic. The essential benefits are those quantifiable or measurable outcomes from artistic work. Examples of these benefits include economic impacts, the creation of jobs, and improving students' test scores. The intrinsic benefits, on the other hand, are intangible benefits, which include a greater attachment to the community and personal interests.

The US government should fund the arts more just like what other countries have been doing. Even though the US government has supported the industry in various forms, this help has not matched other developed nations. For example, in continental Europe, Scandinavia, and Australia, 60% to 90% of the total revenues for the arts industry come from the government (Manda et al., 7). In the UK and Canada, the government funds the activities of the artists to up to 40 %( Manda et al., 7).Therefore, the existence and thrive of arts in these countries depend heavily on government support. Therefore, the US government should not stop the funding of the arts. In contrast, it should strive to increase the funding to the sector so that the industry can thrive.

The primary objective of art is not to fund any obscene or pornographic content. It supports both original works, education for the artists, standards, and values (Kim 44). Even though the organization funded any controversial content before, that is something outdated. The fact that the organization made a mistake does not mean it is terrible in totality. NEA encourages standards of any form of arts. The organization is against the production of any obscene forms of art because it does not condone the compromising of morals and American culture. Instead, NEA has supported multiple creativity, originality, and other arts, which encourage values and morality for the people. Therefore, the objective of NEA has never been to support any film that does not help morals within society. Thus, federal support for art should be supported by all means.

The funds allocated to NEA are prudently utilized without any waste. The US government usually gives away a lot of funds as tax breaks compared to any other direct grants (Zither 32). The tax grant for charitable giving can be one of the most significant ways that the US government supports the arts. More so, the amount of funds allocated to the NEA is minimal compared to any other sector. According to Kipp-Giusti 4, art plays a critical position in American culture. Therefore, instead of eliminating funding to the NEA, the government ought to increase funding so that more artists can be supported to maintain their careers. The government also needs to embrace cultural diversity in the country. Any country requires to embrace their culture and respect the other cultures of the world. But it is difficult to maintain the American culture if the government fails to finance the artists through funding.

More so, NEA enables the art and humanities to reach every part of the nation quickly. Huffman 4 claims that funding of arts by the government very essential. The support of artworks by the government allows for student's development. NEA is, therefore, critical when it comes to ensuring that strong education in arts across US schools. NEA has also offered direct grants to the important pre-K art education projects. That means, the government should even consider increasing the art funding kitty through NEA so that the study of arts in all schools can be boosted. The NEA has been collaborating with institutions of higher learning to provide grants to the projects which preserve the historical culture of the nation. This way, US citizens would continue to enjoy the diverse cultural heritage of the country.


Public and private organizations have supported the art industry through tax relieves direct financing for art projects and other forms of donations to the industry. However, for the arts industry to thrive, government support is very crucial. Thus, the US government should increase funding support to the art so that artists can get motivated. Even though there are many controversies regarding the public funding of arts in the USA, the arts industry has been receiving support from the government through NEA. The current administration should follow other developed countries like the United Kingdom and Europe and increase the support of the art industry. It is unfair for the current administration to plan to stop the funding of art. The impact of the industry on the welfare of the US is very high and cannot be left in the hands of the private sector. This way, the industry would grow. The arts, according to the objectives of NEA, are critical national life and not just for luxury.Therefore, even though the art is not necessarily profitable, it is a vital sector that should be supported by the federal government. The government should not depend on private sectors to finance the art industry because the support from these organizations is always unpredictable.

Work Cited

Alliance, Art Beat St Pete Arts. "Art Beat: Arts Alliance Newsletter (2016: 06: 01)."

Huffman, Kate. "US Arts & Cultural Policy: Understanding & Implications for Arts Administrators." (2015)

Kilian III, Thomas A. "Artistic Freedom V. censorship: An ethics research." ResearchGate, vol. 6, no. 3, 11 May, 2018, p. 17, Northern Illinois University. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.21529.31841. Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

Kim, Mirae, and Gregg G. Van Ryzin. "Impact of government funding on donations to arts organizations: A survey experiment." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 43.5 (2014):

Kipp-Giusti, Elizabeth, and Brann Wry. "Performing Arts Funding: R...

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