President Trump is expected to sign the legislation, which gives financial boosts to the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities through the end of the current fiscal year.
In a deal on the fiscal year 2016 budget struck late Monday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced an extra $39 million for the city’s libraries.
In April, President Obama proposed his 2014 fiscal year budget, which, happily for us culture lovers, includes increases of some $15 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. But Obama’s proposal was just the first step in a long, winding budget process, and now the Republicans have spoken: they want to slash the NEA and NEH budgets in half.
You may have seen it in the New York Times: a half-page ad warning readers “Do not enter the Netherlands. Cultural meltdown in progress.” The ad (which apparently cost $26,000) was bought by a group called Dutch Artists 2011 to protest the catastrophic funding cuts proposed by Holland’s Geert Wilders, the far-right leader of the Party for Freedom (the third largest political party in the country). Wilders would cut arts funding from €800 million to €200 million, decimating Dutch cultural organizations. Where does the situation stand now?
Though it faces a budget crisis and problems with a misdirected leadership, New York City’s South Street Seaport Museum will remain intact and its working tall ships will stay moored in New York City Harbor rather than sent away for storage. Under a new plan, the museum’s president and board of directors will be replaced and land sold to the city to raise funds.