President Donald Trump has been considering budget cuts that would affect arts programs all across the country.
A report by The Hill says the Trump administration plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities from the federal budget. The proposed cuts are a concern to Salt Lake Community College students and faculty involved in the arts.
The two agencies provide grants to various art and cultural organizations. Conservative leaders have targeted these programs as part of an effort to reduce federal spending, dating back to the Reagan administration.
SLCC associate dean of communication and performing arts Nick Burns says communities all over the country would be hurt by any funding cuts.
“A cut to artists anywhere is a cut to artists everywhere,” he says.
Burns is familiar with past attempts to defund the endowments. He is not sure if the proposals will be approved this year, but believes the initiatives have merit and should be continued.
“I do think the arts are valuable and teach us who we are and how we are,” he says.
Many SLCC students have different concerns about the potential cuts.
“I don’t think it’s fair because arts are a big thing in every community. And if you take them away, you take a big part of the community itself away,” says Keonna Carter.
Sofia Sanchez says the proposed budget cuts could affect a lot of her friends who are getting art degrees.
“I think it’s unnecessary,” she says. “I feel like a lot of SLCC students are here to do art, and it would affect everybody.”
Nathan McQuivey thinks the changes could hurt SLCC and its South City Campus.
“It’s kind of absurd because arts are a very beneficial program,” he says. “If it happened here, I think that we would lose a huge chunk of the school because that what this [campus] is mostly dedicated to.”
Burns wants to reassure students that the college itself will not be affected by any cuts to the endowments.
“If any cuts happen we wouldn’t lose teachers or programs,” he says.
Regardless of what happens, Burns encourages students and residents to support local arts programs in any way possible.
“I would encourage people to [support] things like the ZAP tax,” he says. “Go to a show, visit a gallery, support a local theater company, come to the Grand [or] see a student show.”