Alim Kheraj
March 17, 2017 3:17 am

Following yesterday’s budget announcement (March 16th), veteran actor and living legend Dame Julie Andrews wrote about the need for arts funding, and what she wrote is so passionate and so, so powerful.

Yesterday President Donald Trump announced his budget, which saw huge cuts to domestic programs and an overhaul of federal government spending. Along with money being syphoned off to fund The Wall and the military, Trump’s proposed budget will essentially eradicate funding to libraries, museums, and to artists. Indeed, The Washington Post states that the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have all been eliminated.

The proposed budget caused the advent of the hashtag #RightToBearArtswith many celebrities voicing their concern and upset at the news.

In fact, Dame Julie Andrews was so incensed by the proposed budget that she penned an powerful essay about the need for arts funding.

Both Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, wrote an essay for CNN in which they lambasted Trump’s budget proposal, noting that participation in the arts is responsible for making people better human beings.

In the essay both Hamilton and Andrews note that according to four longitudinal studies compiled and published by the National Endowment for the Arts, young people who engage regularly with the arts are twice as likely to read for pleasure, three times more likely to win an award for attendance or be elected to class office, and four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement or perform community service.” 

Continuing, the pair stated that these students also tend to perform better in school and have lower dropout rates, “[reaping] these benefits regardless of socioeconomic status.” 

The pair go on to speak about their own personal experiences in the arts, before going on to speak about how integral the arts are.

“We feel it has never been more critical to advocate for and support the arts — not just in our schools, but in our communities and our lives,” Andrews and Hamilton said. “We therefore respectfully request that every member of our society — individuals, educators, administrators, business leaders — do everything possible to preserve and advance this most precious and essential resource, and demand that our elected representatives do the same.”

Both Dame Julie Andrews, her daughter  Emma Walton Hamilton, and the Jim Henson Company have co-created Julie’s Greenroom, a children’s TV show that celebrates the arts.

Julie’s Greenroom begins on Netflix today (March 17th). You can read Andrew’s and Hamilton’s op-ed here.

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