Why the Arts Matter Lamine TourÉ

The National Endowment of the Arts offers support funding in grants for projects and organizations in artistic communities.

Funding for the NEA Recent proposals by President Trump in his first federal budget plan proposed eliminating the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) among other programs. The NEA is an independent agency of the United States government. Created in 1965 by an act in Congress under President Lyndon B. Johnson, the NEA offers support and funding for projects and organizations exhibiting artistic excellence.

Implications 65% of the funding for the National Endowment of the Arts goes to smaller art groups flourishing the arts in rural and undeserved communities. Organizations in these communities would feel the greatest effect of the agency’s elimination—Organizations that, although do not receive funding from private donors, bring the arts to audiences including children and veterans most often in impoverished neighborhoods. Larger institutions in the U.S will also be affected by the lack of NEA funds, however the impact will not be as keenly felt by smaller groups outside of cities that do not receive private donors.

Funding cuts will affect these discipline categories and more

  • Dance
  • Folk and traditional arts
  • Literature
  • Media arts
  • Museums
  • Music
  • Arts education

Mechanisms of Arts impact


Material/Health The arts build personal ties and promotes volunteering, which improves Health. It increases the opportunity for self-expression and enjoyment and reduces delinquency in high-risk youth.

Cognitive/Psych Improves individuals sense of belonging or attachment to a community

Interpersonal Builds individual social networks and enhances the ability to work with others and communicate ideas

Benefits of the Arts in our Communities


Direct Impact In the communities, the arts account for millions of jobs both in and outside of cities. Funding cuts and elimination of the NEA could potentially cost the jobs of millions of Americans. In a cultural sense, the arts provide communities with an increased sense of personal identity and efficacy. The arts also help build social capital by getting people involved, by connecting organizations to each other and giving participants experience in organizing and working with local governments and non profits.

Audience Participation People spend money on attending the arts and on local businesses. Local. It builds community identity and pride leads to positive community norms, such as diversity, tolerance, and free expression. The arts also allow people to connect with one another who otherwise might not have come into contact with each other.

Presence of Arts in the Communities Increases the opportunity for community members to participate in the arts. This increases attractiveness to the areas to tourists, businesses, and investments. Spurs economic growth in creative industries.

Personal Benefits Relief of stress, increases opportunities for enjoyment, increases tolerance for others by being exposed to different disciplines

Merit School of Music

The Merit School of Music, based in Chicago, Illinois; is a non-profit organization that transforms the lives of Chicago-area youth through removing barriers to high quality music education. The institution is nationally accredited with high quality music instruction of over 4,000 students by 125 passionate teaching artists in the Chicago area. Their primary goals include: removing the economic barriers to participation, helping the youth achieve their full musical and personal potential and stimulating educational and personal growth through music education. This non profit organization provides kids with the tools needed to succeed in life- whatever they choose to pursue. 100% of their graduates attend colleges and universities around the country. The Merit School of Music offers substantial financial scholarships for its participants through grants provided by the National Endowment of the Arts. These scholarships allow kids from many impoverished, low income neighborhoods to participate in activities they otherwise would not have the opportunity to given their financial circumstance. Elimination of the NEA affects organizations such as this and many others that depend on financial leverage from grants.

Anthony and Demarre Mcgill

Born in a troubled neighborhood of Chicago, Anthony began his musical studies on clarinet alongside his brother Demarre on flute at the Merit School of Music. Today they are coveted musicians in the classical music world, holding prominent seats in world renowned orchestras. These brothers are examples of those who have benefited greatly from these NEA funded programs.

Musician David Byrne and Neil discuss the vital importance of arts education

The arts matter because they help us see the world from different perspectives. They give us empathy and help us understand people, places, periods of history, and issues with which we may otherwise be unfamiliar. They comfort us in grief and energize us in celebration. They are important because they can act as a catalyst for change…they can start a revolution! The arts ignite something in our brains that I can’t explain, but I know it’s essential for life. — Jennie Terman, National Endowment for the Arts


  1. http://meritmusic.org/about-merit/
  2. https://www.princeton.edu/~artspol/workpap/WP20%20-%20Guetzkow.pdf
  3. https://qz.com/932332/who-will-lose-if-the-us-national-endowment-for-the-arts-is-eliminated/
  4. http://summerartsinstitute.stanford.edu/about/why-art-matters
  5. http://theartist.me/infographics/art-as-therapy-functions-of-art/


Created with images by WikiImages - "opera opera house concert"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.