Robert Redford defends NEA amid Trump budget cuts

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/robert-redford-defends-nea-tr
BYKate Feldman
Robert Redford spoke out in defense of the National Endowment for the Arts in an open letter.

Robert Redford is fighting for the National Endowment for the Arts.

In an open letter on the Sundance Institute’s website, the “All the President’s Men” star detailed the benefits of the NEA, which contributed a $25,000 grant to help launch the Institute’s first labs for independent filmmaking.

“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,” Redford wrote.

“This is entirely the wrong approach at entirely the wrong time. We need to invite new voices to the table, we need to offer future generations a chance to create, and we need to celebrate our cultural heritage.”

Julie Andrews speaks out against Trump’s plan to eliminate NEA

President Trump’s budget, released last week, would completely eliminate the NEA, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Instead, the “America First Budget” calls for $30 billion in new Defense Department spending and $24 billion more for defense, homeland security and border patrol funds.

“It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share,” Trump said in a letter that called the cuts “sensible and rational.”

The EPA, State Department, and National Institutes of Health could also be hit hard.

A small sample of things that could suffer under Trump budget

President Trump’s budget, released last week, would completely eliminate the NEA, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

(CLEMENS BILAN/EPA)

“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,” Redford wrote.

“The historic investment in the NEA has been fractional compared to other government spending but the dividends of this investment in our culture are unquantifiable. More than dollars, the NEA represents a civilization that values critical and creative thought.”

Redford joins a number of performers who have spoken out against the proposed NEA cuts since the budget was revealed.

Julie Andrews penned an op-ed for CNN with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, about why the President’s first federal budget plan is detrimental to children.

With proposed PBS cuts, three times ‘Sesame Street’ roasted Trump

“This is mind-boggling to us, considering how much the arts benefit our lives and our world. They foster collaboration and creativity, essential skills for navigating in the workplace and surviving in a challenging world,” Andrews and Hamilton wrote.

“They cultivate empathy and tolerance, by bridging cultural and socioeconomic divides. They're also good for business: They spur urban renewal, promote tourism and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity annually.”

Other actors including Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Ian Black, Kal Penn, Josh Gad and Mark Ruffalo also voiced their disapproval over the cuts.

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