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Sunday, May 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Nea Helps Bring Art To Children Painting Culture Life Without Art Quickly Fades To Beige.

By Jamie Tobias Neely For The Edit

For what vile purposes have National Endowment for the Arts funds been spent here in the Inland Northwest?

Well, last fall, NEA money helped support two Spokane Symphony concerts for 5,000 squirmy fifth-graders. The kids were enthralled by a program called “Where in the World of Music is Carmen Sandiego?”

As kids helped crack “The Case of the Missing Concert Hall,” they also discovered Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld,” Brahm’s Hungarian Dance No. 5 and even John Phillip Sousa’s “The Washington Post March.”

It was a clever introduction to classical music - and far more typical of NEA projects than the controversial, but very rare, grants elsewhere in the country.

Last week, the House of Representatives threatened to abolish the NEA. While the Senate since has passed a bill that would increase funding next year, political fights over the NEA are likely to continue.

We believe the NEA provides significant support for this country’s struggling artists, writers and musicians. Throughout history, many of history’s greatest artists, such as Voltaire, Mozart and Goya, relied on government money to survive.

Today, the NEA’s annual $99.5 million appropriation is a minuscule portion of the federal budget. NEA funding in the United States translates to just 38 cents for each American. Canada and France pay $32 per person and Germany, $27, for arts funding.

Many prominent American artists persevered through their early lean years with the help of NEA grants. Alfred Uhry, for example, said his play, “Driving Miss Daisy,” “would never have gotten out of the garage if not for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.”

In the Inland Northwest, two of the region’s finest writers, Ursula Hegi and Sherman Alexie, received $20,000 NEA grants just as their national reputations were beginning to grow. Many lesser-known artists, scattered from Metaline Falls, Wash., to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, have performed thanks to the NEA.

Life without art quickly fades to beige. That’s a risk of living in the budget-minded Inland Northwest. Here, with the NEA’s help, we have a better chance of painting our culture with a full palette - in every vivid shade.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see headline: Keep government out of the arts

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = Jamie Tobias Neely For the editorial board

For opposing view, see headline: Keep government out of the arts

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = Jamie Tobias Neely For the editorial board

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