A ripple throughout the nation and here in Greater Cincinnati has begun as President Trump rolled out his proposed budget this morning, which (among other challenging reductions to vital federal agencies) included calling for the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

This has implications not only for arts organizations locally but for communities everywhere.

Having spent the last four years leading ArtsWave, the Cincinnati region’s nonprofit planner, promoter and fundraiser for 100+ arts organizations, I have talked a lot about the ripple effects of the arts. These ripples are the positive outcomes created through the arts, specifically, a more vibrant economy and connected community.

Arts help put Cincinnati on the map and shape positive public perceptions of our region. A more vibrant Cincinnati allows us to attract, retain, and engage our residents. The business case is solid and the hundreds of corporations and individuals who support ArtsWave’s annual Community Campaign, now underway, are aware of this impact.

Equally important is tolerance and empathy for one another, especially now, when divisions seem to be widening. As a city of 50+ neighborhoods, and a region of 15 counties in 3 states, the arts allow us to bridge cultural divides and connect our communities. They become the common language we can rally behind.

The arts enliven our neighborhoods. Cultural facilities large and small catalyze economic activity, drawing new businesses and jobs. We see this in our region from Hamilton to Covington, from Westwood to Kennedy Heights to Downtown and all points around and in between.

The arts fuel creativity and learning in our kids. The experience of a small child playing an instrument and learning the structure behind music can open his or her mind to STEM possibilities years later. The creativity a teen puts forth in making an oil painting come to life can lead to new ideas down the road, such as designing a new business concept or patent. The reaction to a major theater performance can align and unify perceptions among diverse strangers. The impact this has on communities, especially ours – with its deep and diverse composition of arts organizations – is profound and prolific.

It’s time for us to reach out to our elected officials to let them know this proposed elimination has consequences.  You can do this easily at Arts Action Fund. Once you enter your zip code, automatic and customizable letters will be sent to our local congressman and senators. It’s that easy. It’s that important. 

The arts are not just nice, they are necessary. Let’s use this positive energy to reach out nationally and support the arts locally in order to keep Greater Cincinnati the vibrant and connected community we love.