According to a report published by the Hill, President-elect Trump is planning significant cuts to federal programs, including the departments of Transportation, Commerce and Energy. What else is on the chopping block? The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. And, according to the report, they’re not just going to get budgetary cuts—they’re going to be eliminated. This matters.
The United States already barely supports the arts at all in comparison to other developed countries. But still, the NEA and NEH are crucial for the survival of arts and cultural organizations around the country. Best known for supporting the fine arts, these organizations also support many architectural initiatives under the rubric of “Design”, a category which here covers: “architecture, communications and graphic design, fashion design, historic preservation, industrial and product design, interior design, landscape architecture, planning, universal design, social impact/public interest/human centered design, rural design, and urban design.”
What kind of projects are supported by the NEA? AIA conferences, for one. But also: design competitions; architecture exhibitions; designs and plans for new cultural buildings as well as districts, neighborhoods, public spaces and landscapes; community workshops for design projects; neighborhood planning activities; residencies; socially-oriented design initiatives; adaptive reuse of historic buildings; historic and community preservation projects; conferences and symposia; educational initiatives; and much, much more.
Groups like the American Architecture Foundation, the Architectural League of New York, Architecture for Humanity, the Association of Architecture Organizations, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture rely on NEA funding to support their programs. And architects depend on these organizations to cultivate discourse, professional networking, and the advancement of the field more broadly.
Should the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities be eliminated, there will be significant ramifications for both the field and the built environment in general. Check out what projects are funded by the NEA here.