Robert Redford Slams Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts: ‘NEA Must Not Only Survive, But Thrive’

“The proposed defunding of the NEA’s budget would gut our nation’s long history of support for artists and arts programs,” Redford writes

Robert Redford published an open letter in response to President Trump’s budget proposal, which calls for the defunding of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Redford’s open letter on the Sundance website titled, “The NEA must survive – and thrive,” says that, “More than dollars, the NEA represents a civilization that values critical and creative thought.”

The iconic actor and founder of the Sundance Film Festival notes “historic investment in the NEA has been fractional compared to other government spending but the dividends of this investment in our culture are unquantifiable.”

The Corporation of Public Broadcasting currently has a budget of $445 million, while the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities each have a budget of $148 million. Combined, they comprise less than 0.02 percent of the $4.6 trillion federal budget.

Trump’s budget would zero out the $445 million budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a relatively small source of funding for programming and broadcast operations on public TV stations and NPR radio stations nationwide, per the Washington Post.

Redford says the NEA “played a fundamental role in helping me create Sundance Institute” and its “belief in my project was vital to launching programs that now support tens of thousands of American artists working in film and theater and new media.”

Redford continued: “The proposed defunding of the NEA’s budget would gut our nation’s long history of support for artists and arts programs and it would deprive all our citizens of the culture and diversity the humanities brings to our country.”

 Other Hollywood stars have also spoken out against the proposed cuts, with actor Mark Ruffalo denouncing it as “ripped from [Steve] Bannon’s nationalistic playbook” and Julie Andrews calling it “mind-boggling” in an open letter published on CNN. CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison called for the preservation of her organization in a statement published last week.
Redford used the letter to call for help: “I believe the NEA must not only survive, but thrive. Which is why I’m asking you to please join me in adding your voice to the chorus of concerned citizens by contacting your congressional representative and voicing your opposition to these cuts and in favor of continued support for the role the arts play in enriching our American story.”