Lincoln Center heads urge Trump to keep funding arts

Donald Trump

Executives at New York’s Lincoln Center made a joint appeal Tuesday for the United States to preserve arts funding, warning that steep cuts mulled by President Donald Trump would have devastating effects.

Leaders of the prestigious complex’s institutions — including the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic and New York City Ballet — said arts funding benefited people from children to veterans and also “anchors communities.”

“In American cities and towns, arts institutions and districts are breathing life into neighborhoods — attracting investment, spurring development, fueling innovation and creating jobs,” they wrote in a statement.

Unlike in Europe, cultural funding in the United States is largely private. But the Lincoln Center executives said it was vital to preserve the underlying leadership from the National Endowment for the Arts which last year received $148 million in government appropriations.

The Lincoln Center executives pointed to the endowment’s statistics that the arts — which covers everything from concert tickets to the movie industry — generated $704.2 billion in economic benefits each year across the United States.

“A great America needs that kind of return,” they wrote without explicitly naming Trump.

The Trump administration has proposed major cuts in federal funding, especially foreign aid — except for a $54 billion boost in military spending.

Arts funding has been a perennial target for some US conservatives, who highlight controversial works and question the need for government support.

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