Architecture Dean denounces Trump’s proposed budget cuts
The American Collegiate Schools of Architecture, led by Washington University College of Architecture Dean Bruce Lindsey, voiced its disapproval of President Trump’s proposed budget, which includes cuts to several art programs, April 7.
The statement argues that federal programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Institute of the Humanities (NIH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have significant impact on art and culture in the United States and cutting them “threatens the development of knowledge that benefits all Americans.”
While these cuts are negligible as a percentage of the larger federal budget, according to the Washington Post, the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s (ACSA) statement represents a common sentiment among advocates for the arts.
“The NEA is the only federal program that supports the arts broadly,” Lindsey said. “Over the years, it’s made an incredible impact on arts and culture with recognition of the broader culture in the United States while also being one of the few federal voices for the importance of the arts. So to cut it would be a terrible loss.”
According to Lindsey, funding the arts has a marked positive impact on society.
“There’s a lot of research that suggests we should be increasing the prevalence of arts, contrary to what’s been happening in our country. In adding the ‘A’, for art or architecture, to ‘STEM’ to make ‘STEAM,’ we’d be realizing the significance of art in life and increasing the participation in art,” he said.
Dean Carmon Colangelo of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts agrees.
“It is sad to see such a deliberate effort to suppress scholarship, artistic expression, cultural production and the unifying value the arts have on our communities,” Colangelo said in The Source.
When Lindsey first heard of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts, he, along with the ACSA, felt that in order to encourage others to do what they can to support the arts, a statement was necessary.
“Architects believe that it’s their responsibility to contribute to the health, safety and welfare of the communities that they work on,” Lindsey said.
Junior Jojo Yee, president of the Architecture Student Council, has difficulty imagining her life without art but feels such a situation could be a reality for upcoming generations.
“The arts and humanities are fundamental components of our education, and to take away funding for these programs is to deprive students of the opportunity to pursue their goals, explore every single one of their interests and have a strong foundation of knowledge and experiences,” Yee said.
While not a student in Sam Fox, freshman Lopaka O’Connor feels that the cuts also harm political discourse in the United States.
“Slashing federal funding for the arts and humanities makes it that much harder for dissident artists to showcase their disapproval of the administration, and I think a nation with less political discourse is one made weaker,” O’Connor said. “Trump’s proposed budget cuts would definitely, from an economic perspective, reduce incentives to pursue an art education, but I don’t think artists have ever expected much career stability.”