For example, a recent comprehensive study conducted by the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania found that cultural assets in New York City’s neighborhoods improve citizens’ health and safety and increase the effectiveness of local schools. The same is true in cities and towns across the country.
Since 2012, Lincoln Center ’s 11 arts organizations have received a combined total of nearly $5 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. These grants have helped make dozens of initiatives possible: music education programs in New York City public schools; public television series; high-definition webcasts; tuition-free education and community activities; free outdoor programming; world premiere productions; commissions of new works; and so much more.
Beyond these benefits, art institutions and districts provide an economic boost for American cities and towns, breathing life into neighborhoods by attracting investment, spurring development, fueling innovation, and creating jobs. Arts and culture help power the U.S. economy at the astounding level of $704.2 billion each year.
American arts institutions are also a source of national pride on the world stage. In a unique model, private sources provide the vast majority of funding for our artists and arts organizations, with government funding used conservatively and in targeted ways: by providing early funding to get projects off the ground, for example, or helping to create or expand promising initiatives to achieve greater reach and impact.
The total cost of the National Endowment for the Arts, for instance, amounts to less than a dollar a year for every American. But the prestige of an National Endowment for the Arts grant leads to donations of nine additional dollars from other sources for every one dollar from the federal budget. The other programs offer similar returns on investment.
As leaders in the performing arts field, we firmly believe that it is our responsibility to stand up for and with all who will be most affected by these proposed cuts, from small-town theaters and orchestras to children and veterans enrolled in educational and therapeutic programs, not to mention the artists themselves and the country as a whole. The arts feed the soul; jobs in the arts feed families and nourish communities. We urge that funding be continued.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Suzanne Davidson, Executive Director
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Greg Scholl, Executive Director
The Juilliard School
Joseph W. Polisi, President
Lincoln Center Theater
André Bishop, Producing Artistic Director
The Metropolitan Opera
Peter Gelb, General Manager
New York City Ballet
Katherine Brown, Executive Director
New York Philharmonic
Matthew VanBesien, President
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Jacqueline Z. Davis, Barbara G. & Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director
School of American Ballet
Marjorie Van Dercook, Executive Director
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Debora L. Spar, President
Founders Note: I support Lincoln Center’s call to attention as arts funding comes under attack – I’m an advocate for growing arts funding, Danny Tisdale, CEO and Founder, Harlem World Magazine, Inc.