CBS’s Sunday Morning aired two stories this morning. Well, they were really the same story, but told in two different ways. The first version was told as a horror, and the second version was told as a nostalgic drama. Both versions were about art, and the value we place on it.

The “scary” story tells of the frightening reality of President Trump ending federal funding for arts programs. People who work in theatre, film, and photography explained that they need money from the federal government specifically in order to exist. The 0.02% of the federal budget that funds arts simply cannot be replaced any other way.

Without federal funds, art will die!

break dancers old school performance art

To this day, artists perform in LA and across the nation without federally-funded break dancing programs

Later, Sunday Morning aired the nostalgic version. It was about the 12 Blockbuster video stores still in operation, nine of them in Alaska. Blockbuster was once a popular store to rent art, but with the advent of companies like Netflix, Redbox, and Hulu, movie lovers enjoyed their art in other ways.

Some people are kind of sad that video stores have become nearly extinct. But, not really. Despite the lack of federal funding for movies, we can all still enjoy them.

 

Apache native american indian cynthia whitehawk

Apache medicine wheel drum made by Cynthia Whitehawk. Visual and audio art without federal dependency..

 

Part of the reason why people are afraid of the federal government ending its funding for arts programs is because they believe that poor people need to be encouraged to value art. To them, people with less money than most lack the sophistication, motivation, or intelligence to paint, draw, dance, or make music. Another reason they are terrified is because they fear that the people who manage organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts or The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will not know how to raise money for art programs if they did not receive federal funding.

It’s anyone’s guess how organizations like the YMCA or the Girl Scouts or Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital manage to provide services to those who want them. Or, how organizations can create statues of Jesus or Buddha without receiving 0.02% of the federal budget.

So many mysteries of the universe!

Jesus Savior tattoo art

Tattooing was never an art form funded by the federal government

Could it be that these organizations do not live in fear? Could it be that their services are valuable, and people are willing to support them voluntarily?
If we want to work together to make the world a better place, then we are going to have to stop being afraid of one another. We will need to allow each other to make our own choices, including which art forms we support. If we continue being afraid of the choices of others, then the federal government could justify spending money on anything that comprises 0.02% of the budget.