Queens Cultural Leaders Join Citywide Protest Against President's Proposed Budget Cuts

They call it the Trump administration's assault on arts, culture, and libraries. That's why Queens leaders and artists are protesting the president's proposed cuts to the arts. NY1's Lisa Voyticki reports.

Astoria resident and Broadway actor Jelani Remy sang in solidarity with hundreds to support the arts on the steps of City Hall.

So many people showed up to City Hall, that the protest spilled into City Hall Park.

It was organized by Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries.

"The NEA contributes tens of millions of dollars to New York City cultural organizations including many in Queens."

The NEA is the National Endowment for the Arts.  

President Trump's budget proposal calls to defund the NEA, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  

Since 2016, The NEA's doled out $233 million to city cultural institutions.  

"Losing that funding would heavily affect our programming of immigrant arts in Queens, especially music," said Sami Abu Shumays, Deputy Director of the non-profit Flushing Town Hall.

He says they're stepping up outreach to private donors.   He says they could lose close to $100,000.   The Museum of the Moving Image has received about one million dollars in the last five years.

"Government support for the kind of programs we do across the country is essential," said Carl Goodman, Executive Director of The Museum of hte Moving Image in Astoria.

At the Queens Library, grants have also funded hotspots, tablets, and e-books.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer says New York City is the second largest funder of the arts in the country.​

"When you lose the NEA you lose the ability to fund worthwile arts organizations," said Stringer.

"That stamp of approval especially in queens a place like that says the federal govt a national group of experts has said this is a worthy project," said Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.

While these cuts are priorities for the President, ultimately, Congress will determine what will be cut.

 

 

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