Fund Art(ists) Not War – ANY AND ALL ACTION NEEDED

12 Feb

Pictured above is Isis Storm co-founder Kalyana Champlain, aka 5th Elament, after performing at Funda Fest 13.  An annual cultural festival, this year it was funded, in part, by Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA).  “Funds for programs and services carried out by RISCA are provided by the RI State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal agency.”  Proposals to cut funding to NEA are currently being discussed in the US House of Representatives.

by Reza C. Clifton

PROVIDENCE, RI – I’m sick of it, y’all.  SICK OF IT!!  Sick of seeing irrational policy-changes, the continued support of poisonous policies, those who pretend these policies are necessary, an unwillingness to bring in the real leaders and change-makers, the disillusionment of the change-makers when we need them most, the delay of older leaders embracing new ones, the cloaking of structural racism under free trade, funding cuts, and impartiality, and sick of the silencing of our voices – as done by ourselves and as imposed by others.

SICK OF IT!!!

FYI, I’m going to post the email I read this morning that has taken me over the edge.  It is about MAJOR funding cuts that some want to see happen for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities (please confirm if your reaction was, “wait, cuts to art and not the military??!!!) This on top of news and analysis like, “well, Israel may need to re-occupy Gaza now that Mubarak has stepped down.”  (Wait, this isn’t the time to talk about authentic opportunities for peace, parity, and harmonious and sustainable futures for Israel and Palestine?!)

WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS (I’m referring to the funding cuts to the arts, but yes, I think all of the things I’m sick of).  And even if lil “liberal” RI is among those fighting to keep money for the arts, most of us have plenty of friends in other states that need to know about this so they can pressure THEIR leaders.

In short, PLEASE POST OR SAY SOMETHING!!! In some cases, and some of you may not get this immediately, BUT ART IS ALL WE HAVE LEFT!!  DO SOMETHING!!.  And don’t just stop at “sick of it.”

Angry, scared, and motivated,
Reza Rites

Reza Corinne Clifton
“Reza Rites / Venus Sings / DJ Reza Wreckage”
Writer – Multimedia Producer – Communications Specialist – Music DJ
rezaclif@gmail.com

2008 Grant Recipient, “Rhode 2 Africa”
www.rihumanities.org, www.rifoundation.org

***

WHAT TO DO:

– Contact your representative and let them know that they and the other Congressmen and Congresswomen need to block proposals to cut the Nat’l Endowment for the Arts and the Nat’l Endowment for the Humanities. It’s simple too: www.house.gov/writerep.

– keep updating your Facebook and twitter messages: examples include “Block proposals to cut NEA and NEH funding” – “I support NEH and NEA and they should continue to be funded” – “fund art not war”. Even if your reps don’t see this their young staffers will, your friends in other states will see it, and the media will catch wind if enough of us step up, and you know the reps pay attention there.

– Tonight and this weekend at your music or art gig, stop for a 60 second moment of silence to show how serious this is. Alternatively, put on an instrumental and talk over it! AND use your phone videos and flip cameras to FILM IT, POST IT, SHARE IT, SEND IT!

– Join and invite friends to our Facebook event, “Fund Art(ists) Not War – ANY AND ALL ACTION NEEDED” or share this blog post.

– (please) STOP PRETENDING THIS DOESN’T AFFECT YOU. Your favorite hip hop documentary, the after school music or art teacher who actually taught you something, the first public forum you attended because it was about music and culture – these things are all funded by NEH and NEA money.

***

MORE INFO:

(LOCAL ALERT: From RI Council for the Humanities)

Friends of the Humanities,
Funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is at risk for significant cuts and potential elimination.

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities relies on NEH support, as well as private contributions, to support humanities initiatives throughout the state of Rhode Island. A significant portion of funding for Rhode Island public humanities is decided on a national level in Washington D.C.

Federal funding directly supports the work we do, which is based on the conviction that history, literature, philosophy, religion, civics, the arts and other fields of the humanities are crucial to the daily lives of a free and diverse people. Since our founding, we have awarded more than $6.6 million in grants to over 500 different organizations, making varied and invaluable public humanities programming available across the state of Rhode Island.

***

(FEDERAL ALERT: from Americans for the Arts Action Fund)

Dear Reza Corinne:
Since we sent you the alert last night about the funding cuts being proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) the situation has worsened. Overnight, the House Appropriations Committee made even deeper cuts to the NEA and dozens of other programs and agencies. The proposed cut to the NEA is now set at $22.5 million (yesterday it was $12 million) which would represent the largest cut to that agency in 16 years.

We need you to send a message to your Members calling on them to reject these cuts to the NEA because they will negatively affect the district back home.

This will ensure that your voice will be heard by Members of Congress (especially freshmen members), who are now assessing their constituents’ viewpoints on these budget cuts.

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