Friday, May 20, 2005

House of Representatives Pass Funding for the Arts

Yes, I know this is a long post...

Remarks from Illinois representative Davis in support of increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and for the National Endowment for the Humanities:

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Chairman, I rise in strong support of Slaughter/Shays/Dicks/Leach amendment to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, NEH.
The arts are crucial for the flourishing and development of societies. As our economy continues to grow it is important that the arts remain a priority in our communities. As former President Kennedy stated, “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for our victories or defeats in battles or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” Though some would consider our economy hard pressed for such funding as this, I implore my colleagues to consider the profound influence of arts-centric businesses.
While some of the country's concerns only affect a minority of people, the involvement in the arts spans all walks of life. Indeed, it weaves together all communities and crosses racial, gender, and religious boundaries. In my district, the arts create a sense of nationalism for the State and the rest of the country. For, what would Chicago be without the architecture of the Sears Tower, the flourishing talent in Second City, or the abundant museums? Indeed, the beating pulse of America lives and thrives through the arts.
Not only do the arts enrich societies, but the arts is also an industry. In my district there are
2,989 art related businesses and 44,709 people that make their daily living working in the arts. It is obvious that support of arts, also is support of the economy. Arts-Centric businesses supply 578,000 businesses in the United States and employ 2.97 million people. Even more, it is a growing institution, exceeding the total United States business growth rate by 1.7 percent. Not only do the arts help sustain the economy by supplying jobs and generating revenue, it helps to fuel future creative industries and workers.
These future creative workers come in the form of our children. The arts help in a child's brain development and their creative skills. A country without a full expression of the arts would truly create a void in a child's development. They too deserve the right to blossom and flourish their imagination from the various artistic resources.
We cannot disregard the contributions and growing trends of the arts. The arts and humanities support our culture, it supports our economy, and most importantly it supports our future. In my district there is a wealth of diversity. This diversity is preserved through the arts. The arts promote respect for diversity, and appreciation of other cultures. It seems to me, that these elements are necessary for building stable healthy communities. Madam Chairman, if we minimize these possibilities in the arts, we will be limiting the liberty of our imagination. I request my colleagues to join me in support of this amendment.

Two weakening floor amendments to cut NEA funding were defeated by overwhelming margins.


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