By JESSICA MARQUEZ
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Thursday denounced reports that President Trump planned to axe the National Endowment for the Arts, labeling the possible budget move “another example of this president building walls instead of bridges.”
In a press conference at the Children’s Museum of the Arts, Stringer warned that such a threat would sever a lifeline to cultural organizations and art programs across New York City, which receives many millions of dollars a year from the endowment. This includes theater, musical theater, museums, and historic sites, all recipients of NEA grants.
Stringer also released a report, Culture Shock: The Importance of National Arts Funding to New York City’s Cultural Landscape¸ outlining the important role the NEA plays here, where 419 of the city’s cultural non-profits received funding from the NEA in 2016.
The report further said that eliminating the NEA would cost the city jobs and and undermine the tourist industry since visitors spend millions of dollars on exhibitions, performances, and other art-related entertainment and recreation.
Stringer stressed the harm the elimination of the NEA would cause to children’s art programs.
“As a parent of a five-year-old and a three-year-old, I can tell you firsthand that in my house art projects are a centerpiece why my house is messy,” Stringer said to laughter. “There’s paint, glue, and sticks all over the apartment but at the end of the day, when I get presented with the latest art project before we have to clean it up, it’s a testament to the critical thinking and creativity of New York city kids.”
The comptroller said he viewed art programs as an essential platform for children to express themselves and critical to the future development of children, especially young children.