While the Corcoran does not currently receive any direct funding from the National Endowment for the Arts or the National Endowment for the Humanities, any talk of dismantling these remarkable organizations is deeply disturbing. The hallmark of a healthy, robust society is in the way it supports culture, cultural critique and excellence in the arts. The NEA and NEH have supported organizations and individuals dedicated to excellence in the arts, with a keen interest in ensuring unseen and overlooked practitioners have an opportunity to thrive. Many faculty and alumni at the Corcoran have been direct and indirect recipients of support from the NEA and NEH, and they—myself included—have also contributed numerous hours to provide expertise and critical insight by being part of grant review panels, program development and other mechanisms to more broadly support and strengthen the culture of our country. These organizations are not ancillary to the fabric of our country and our democracy, but rather they are critical and foundational to who we are as a nation. Losing the NEA and NEH would be devastating not just to the Corcoran community, but to this country. If President Trump truly wants to combat forces like ISIL and the Taliban, who flagrantly destroy cultural monuments and threaten artistic freedom, he should wholeheartedly support organizations like the NEA and NEH, which embrace cultural plurality, diverse artistic practice, community building and freedom of thought.
Now is a time to advocate to maintain and expand these organizations to ensure that all (including our current students) can avail themselves of the support and acumen that the NEA and NEH have to offer in the belief that culture is, at its best, supported through collaboration.