Tim Robbins

In 1976, when I was 17 years old, I received a check for 50 dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts.

I was a member of a touring theater company that performed free shows in low-income neighborhoods throughout New York City. We rehearsed for five weeks and performed for eight so my per hour income was paltry if not pathetic but I remember a great sense of pride when I cashed that check.

I was being paid by my government for entertaining people. I was proud to live in a country where that could happen. It also gave me great confidence in my talent. I continued to pursue this profession.

Within ten years the investment by my government of fifty dollars in 1976 was returning hundreds of thousands of dollars back to them in taxes.

Within the next decade the government received an even sweeter bounty on their fifty-dollar investment. And I was proud to pay these taxes. As I have been proud to invest back into the arts with The Actors’ Gang, a 30-year-old organization that provides free educational programs to public school children and at risk teens and offers affordable and accessible theatrical and musical events to the citizens of Los Angeles.   

I am one story amongst many Americans who have benefited greatly from the arts programs the NEA has supported over the 46 years of its existence.

But recently a reactionary voice has been amplified in this country that argues that arts funding is superfluous, inconsequential, an indulgent drain on the economy. Not only is this reactionary voice wholeheartedly misguided and deceptive but this voice threatens the future cultural and economic life of this country. The simple truth is that people spend money when they attend arts events. Think of the amount of money you have spent in malls on your trips there to see a movie.

Economic impact studies have shown that for every dollar invested by our government in arts programs an average of  nine dollars of spending is generated in communities where these arts programs exist. The arts are an engine for economic growth.

Shops spring up near cultural centers. Where plays are performed restaurants and bars are packed. Some businesses near cultural centers report a 200% increase in revenue when events occur at the center. Property values skyrocket. Entire communities are reborn economically by the presence of music halls, theaters and art galleries.

Why would anyone in his or her right mind eliminate funding to a proven income generating economic engine?

The arts programs supported by the NEA are also an engine for inspiration.

From symphony orchestras to roots blues groups, from local theater companies to the grand stage of the opera, the mission of NEA artists is to culturally enrich the communities they perform in, to tell stories relevant to our collective experience as Americans and to create moments of entertainment that can lift our spirits and inspire us for many years to come.

These two reasons should be enough to justify the necessity of the National Endowment for the Arts. But there is so much more to the NEA than its function as an economic stimulus or its support of museums and orchestral performances and live theater.

I wonder if the politicians calling for the elimination of the NEA know how integral the organization is to educational programs for children throughout this country.

In an environment where government cuts in arts education funding have already diminished our children’s access to the visual arts, theater, and music education, NEA supported programs are, in some communities, the child’s last possibility of exposure to the arts.

Arts education is not superfluous. It is essential.

Children with access to arts programs are better students, higher achievers than those who do not have the benefit of arts education. At risk youth who are able to participate in arts programs are more likely to stay in school and continue into higher education than those deprived of that education. Why would any politician want to eliminate funding for a government program that leads to more competitive students and lower drop out rates?

The fact is that millions of our nation’s children rely on the NEA as a lifeline, as a source of inspiration, as an engine to forging a better future.

What is the end game here? What is the vision of those that would deprive children of the chance to see great paintings, or to hear the music of Mozart or experience the theater of Shakespeare? What kind of society are they imagining? And what are we saying about ourselves if we allow this to happen?

A small amount of narrow-minded people with a loud megaphone are calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. They do not represent the majority of this country. They use incendiary language and are blindly ignorant of how essential the arts are to our country and its citizens.

I would like to believe that we can reach out to the reasonable, adult leaders of this country in both political parties that see the legitimacy and importance of the NEA.

I cannot believe that all Republicans support cuts to cultural programs. Certainly their hearts have been moved by great art as much as ours have. I would think that in this reactionary environment that politicians from both parties need our support to allow them the political will and the moral capital to vote their consciences. Perhaps if we can do that we can separate the real leaders of this country from the opportunistic headline grabbers trying to gain political points with the ignorant.

We are a great nation that has inspired groundbreaking changes in the arts throughout the world. Our freedom of expression, our unique creative voice, supported for 46 years by the NEA, has provided inspiration and hope to millions throughout the world and here at home.

We have the potential of encouraging future generations to even greater heights of creativity. But we cannot achieve these heights if we allow reactionary politicians to define who we are as a people. We mustn’t allow Philistine bullies to threaten our artistic institutions and the quality of our children’s future education.

We should be proud of the cultural achievements of our artists in the past forty-six years. Almost every town or municipality in this country has access to creative expression.

It would be terrible to imagine a United States of America without a vital, thriving and innovative cultural life. It would be tragic to give up on the idea that a nation’s support of innovative artistic expression is a necessary component to its future relevance and its ultimate brilliance.

We have defined ourselves in the world that way for years and have inspired millions around the globe towards free expression and artistic innovation. To give up on that is to redefine America, to imagine a lesser nation. Do we really want to be known from this point forward as the only advanced society in the world that completely disregards the importance of art?

Is this to be the legacy of the 112th Congress?

With hope,

Tim Robbins

38 Responses to “An Open Letter to the United States Congress from Tim Robbins”

  1. Dave says:

    Mr. Robbins is wrong when he says, “Our freedom of expression, our unique creative voice, supported for 46 years by the NEA, has provided inspiration and hope to millions throughout the world and here at home.”
    The real number is not “millions”. In fact if the true effect were to be measured, it’s certainly in the Billions.

  2. Here’s a bit from Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the NEA:
    Why teach art? http://j.mp/gGpFYN

  3. Darren says:

    ‎”Why would any politician want to eliminate funding for a government program that leads to more competitive students and lower drop out rates?”
    I don’t know Tim- where were you when they DID it to Career-Technical Education/Vocational Education back in the 80s, a subject area which also leads to more competitive students and lower drop out rates?

    • Perhaps, Darren, there are still people in power humble enough to learn from historical mistakes? Maybe the detrimental effect those cuts had on the USA will demonstrate just how ignorant a handful of loud politicians can actually be, and maybe ours will not eliminate the NEA.

      “Testing, testing, testing” is all I hear about education these days. So sad. Nobody learns how to learn. It sounds like our voted-in leaders want nothing more than voting blobs at their command, who may be able to remember facts and figures (for a few years) but not be able to figure anything out for themselves. Hang on, isn’t that what most non-democratic societies and religious organizations strive for?

      And it is totally true: what’s the purpose of being able to read and write if there’s nothing to read and write about? (referring the Mr. Holland’s Opus). Maybe some folk just want us to be able to read the voting ballot and select the correct color?

      Sorry… more questions. I doubt any of our politicians could stoop low enough to consider them, though.

    • Sarah says:

      Quick to blame, rather than to support. I’m pretty sure Tim Robbins wasn’t any more or less responsible than you were in the 80′s, Darren.

    • Michelle says:

      Darren, he says in his article exactly where he was in the 1980′s. He is 52 now, which would make him 20 in 1980. He was finishing college and starting an acting career.

      It’s not just about the NEA. It’s about all the educational programming on TV and radio, and it’s about all the extremely meritorious but unprofitable art that gets made with public funding, that would otherwise disappear.

  4. Thank you, Mr. Robbins, for your open letter to the US Congress.

    I am an American who has worked in theater for over 25 years in over 20 countries as a director, actor, dancer, choreographer, and producer. The move by the 112th Congress to attempt (once again) to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts continues to baffle me. I, too, do not understand what the ultimate goal is here.

    I have worked frequently in Eastern Europe in countries in the former Soviet Union, and have lived primarily in Oslo, Norway since 2008. Democracy, and the freedom for artists to assemble and share their creative visions for artists, tend to go hand in hand. Countries such as Belarus and Hungary today are in the midst of a totalitarian crack down on its artists, using tools such as censorship, imprisonment, threats, and even physical harm.

    Is this the model that the US would like to emulate?

    Artists and their art-products generate jobs, stimulate the economy, and enhance the quality of living for men and women regardless of economic background, education, creed, or beliefs. Creativity, and a regular encounter with creative activities and products, inspire dialogue, reflection, and imagination. I would think that the United States–particularly at this juncture in our history–would want all of our citizens to receive these benefits.

    Hopefully, more artists–from famous celebrities such as Mr. Robbins to the hundreds of thousands working the arts today who are unknown to most of the American people–will unite as citizens of the United States to demand a change from this course of action. After all, our government is elected by the people, and for the people. Right? I don´t know any artist who is in favor of eliminating the NEA; just who is Congress serving?

    Sincerely,

    Brendan McCall
    Founder & Artistic Director
    Ensemble Free Theater Norway

  5. The Republicans want to end Social Security. They’re now prepared to shut down the government to keep women from getting mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Is anyone really surprised that they’re also hoping to destroy the National Endowment for the Arts?

    So how’s that Tea Party-changey thing workin’ out for ya?

  6. Craig says:

    When will the government realize our biggest export is ENTERTAINMENT and that by funding it the whole country will benefit! Stupid politicians!

  7. Ed Murray says:

    How wonderful for Mr. Robbins and his $50. I suppose that I would support a government check to every Little Leaguer. Imagine the payback when tey sign their $100 million contract. Perhaps to every AAU basketballer, more $100 million contracts. How about $50 to every swimmer, bicycler, runner, painter, lemonade stand, etc. What an investment! We’ll all be inundated with money in only a decade or two.
    Everybody has talent in something. Very few are lucky enough to pay hundreds of thousands per year in taxes. Ask the thousands of members of SAG.

    • Michael5472 says:

      I am a member of SAG. What, exactly, is your point?

    • Ken Boe says:

      If our society invested in the arts like they do in sports it would be a truly better world. While funding junior sports kept plenty of potential soldiers in stock during the cold war, until their knees went out, funding the arts will power a new civilization like we’ve never seen before.

  8. Lady Thorn says:

    Why? Because they don’t want educated, thinking people who question authority. They want huddled masses, who are too busy earning enough to keep body and soul together to think about social change. (But not so desperate they have nothing to lose.)

  9. Christiane Georgi says:

    Last year I volunteered as an educator and assisting director for this program:

    The Possibility Project brings together vastly diverse groups of teenagers who meet weekly for a year. Through a combination of issue-oriented discussions, trainings in diversity, conflict resolution, leadership and community activism, instruction in the full range of performing arts, and the creation of scenes and writing, the youth cast writes, produces and performs an original musical based on their lives and their ideas for change. In addition, they design and lead community action projects on issues of concern to them in order to take their creative vision for change into the world.
    Through the program, our young people develop skills in cross-cultural understanding, non-violent conflict resolution, leadership, community responsibility, self-efficacy, and the performing arts and achieve academic advancement. Our aim is to increase the confidence and independence of teenagers as they move into adulthood, and to create the next generation of creative leadership that is capable of unifying our diverse populations to resolve the most pressing social issues that we face.
    Our first priority is the positive development of our youth participants. To date, we have demonstrated remarkable results in this area:
    EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT

    Since 2002, 92% of the Possibility Project participants have gone on to college, compared to a national average of 68%. During that time, 99.3% of participants stayed in high school, compared to a national average of 71%. The average GPA increases by approximately 0.5, one-half letter grade.
    CROSS-CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING AND COMPETENCY

    90% of the Possibility Project youth reach significant criteria of cross-cultural competency.
    LEADERSHIP / SENSE OF FUTURE

    Confidence, self-efficacy and ability to plan improve in 88% of participants.
    CONFLICT RESOLUTION / VIOLENCE PREVENTION

    92% of the Possibility Project youth said they resolve conflicts differently as a result of the conflict resolution, communications, and cross-cultural components of the program.

    I volunteered because program such as this one and too many others are broke. What a shame because our country needs them, our kids need them, our future needs them. The transformations, artistic growth and compassion I witnessed in the Possibility Project were strong proofs that our kids only need our support and encouragement to self-expression to become healthy and successful human beings. Is that too much too ask? Isn’t it our responsibility to raise and care for the next generation?

    Unfortunately, our Los Angeles program closed this year. Not because we didn’t have enough kids to participate, not because staff was low, because of the lack of MONEY. Who is going to care for them now?

  10. Matt says:

    All this letter establishes is that we need to focus our collective energies on the teaching of mathematics and economics. That way, we will not have our public discourse easily swayed by actors. I enjoy watching actors perform from time to time. But they’re actors, not policy analysts, academics, or leaders.

    The NEA is a small drop in a very large bucket – relative to the overall money in the arts and entertainment industries, relative to the federal budget, or relative to the national expenditures on education. Take your pick.

    That’s probably the best argument for keeping the NEA – it isn’t really a very big deal. Cutting it won’t do anything to solve the government’s fiscal woes. Keeping it won’t prevent us from descending into a Dark Age. The notion that the arts as we know them will collapse without this program is beyond laughable. It’s also insulting to the thousands of benefactors of the arts nationwide.

    Cutting this program causes a lot of noise to be made by the self-righteous who don’t seem to have any problem with the amassing of wealth, so long as it isn’t done by non-artists.

    My opinion? Scarcity is real. Decisions have to be made. I’d say that if you are ready to look at everything else that has to be cut and say that the NEA is more important than all of it, then keep it. I believe Mr. Robbins would agree that our government is not yet providing for all of the needs of the hungry and sick, among other things. If I personally could help those people the tiniest amount by eliminating the NEA, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    • TerilynnS says:

      Some actors (and dancers, musicians, poets, etc.) ARE economists, leaders (Reagan), policy makers, lawyers, scientists, insurance adjusters, personal finance advisers, teachers, mathematicians, senators, house members, secretaries, musicians, physicians, nurses, librarians, computer analysts, police officers, fire fighters, jailors, military personnel and yes, even waiters – performers are made up of every walk of life in this country. To ignore that is to ignore what’s around you.

      Don’t toss an actor’s opinion because they care about the arts. In the same vein don’t take and economist’s opinion about them merely because they are an economist.

      The arts are an important expression of our species and are – whether you like it or not – an important expression of our country as a whole.

      An well-rounded education is what gives all children a foundation from which to work from. Letting them choose how to freely live their life is what I though the American dream was: letting our children have the opportunity to express themselves as an actor, a physicist or an economist – whatever, is what we as a people should be striving to provide and yes – it’ll cost. But I’m okay with working hard to assure that future American children will know the joy of Shakespeare, Mozart, ballet, Maya Angelou, and still maybe – be an economist when they grow up.

      • TerilynnS says:

        And of course I mean “A well-rounded” I would hate for someone to think of calling the grammar police. I apologize for the typo.

      • Matt says:

        I don’t deny the value of art. I deny the relevance of the NEA. Big, big difference.

        And sure, many people who were actors later did other things. But this actor is an actor and self-proclaimed activist. Regardless of political stripe, I don’t much care for the opinions of people who are listened to solely because they are famous.

        Mr. Robbins’ argument and much of the sound and fury (reference intended) surrounding this issue is based on a very tenuous grasp of the real impacts of the NEA’s relatively tiny, relatively ill-spent budget. I care about the arts, so I personally support them. People like me (and you, I hope) do an awful lot more for the arts than the NEA. As another commenter mentioned, I am rather uncomfortable with the government telling us what our art ought to be in the first place.

        • D Nicol says:

          Don’t be so snide. I agree that we too often treat actors as shamans. But Robbins’ opinions are entirely valid here, NOT “just because he’s famous,” but because he IS an artist, and past beneficiary of the NEA. Thus, his opinions are far more valid than that of most people arguing this issue. Government supportfor arts is essential, mainly because the marketplace only supports immediately commercial artists, and very rarely those who experiment and break new ground, who pave the way for the commercially successful artists of the next generation. The NEA may be a drop in the bucket compared to the money in Hollywood, but it’s a very concentrated, finely-honed drop which is essential in a supposedly advanced society like the USA.

          Those who want to cut the NEA (and NPR, and Planned Parenthood and so on) simply want to send America back to the Stone Age. I’d much prefer my tax money funding weird and wacky artists than pulverizing the cities of Libya.

    • Larry Nehring says:

      As you point out, the NEA is a “drop in the bucket” of the budget. If the US economy is in such bad shape, we should be performing first aid on the large problems like defense overspending, corporate subsidies, and tax breaks for the wealthiest 10% of the population. How can one justify cutting these “drops” when there are arteries pouring green blood out of the system?

      • Matt says:

        No argument there. I agree that it’s a small issue. I would likewise like to see defense cut, and the major entitlements properly dealt with. But in a world and nation in which scarcity is real, Mr. Robbins’ $50 is not at all compelling compared to a roof over someone’s head, and with the dire fiscal circumstances ahead, very tough decisions will have to be made. This is not the hill upon which to die.

        I love the arts. I am a huge fan of arts not always well supported by the mainstream market (classical music, for instance). One does not have to be anti-art in order to have a hard time getting worked up for the hundredth time about the NEA.

  11. [...] He speaks truth.  Go ahead and listen. [...]

  12. When the government refuses to tax the rich or control the military, and then expects every other aspect of civilized life to take the cuts, the losses will be incalculable. Why are we permitting a group of people to rob the country blind and then leave us to suffer in their wakes. Stupidity is ruling the day and it is obvious culture and education is desperately needed…which is why they fear it.

  13. Stephanie Schwartz says:

    Mr. Robbins has expressed support for the NEA and all arts educational programs very thoroughly and clearly. I hope some of the budget-slashing congressional representatives will reflect on their own experiences and the educational experiences of their children, most of whom are in private schools that do have artistic programs. The congress is threatening a fundamental foundation to our nation’s cultural and economic life.

  14. [...] An Open Letter to the United States Congress from Tim Robbins. [...]

  15. punditius says:

    I have a lot of problems with Mr. Robbins wanting the federal government to take my money and give it to the NEA. In fact, I have a lot of problems with Mr. Robbins giving his own money to the federal government to hand over to the NEA, because I think that in the end, it is actually bad for the arts.

    One problem is that I have a budget for arts donations of my own. I would much prefer to choose the donees, rather than leave that choice to the government or the people who make choices for the NEA. Why? Well, for one thing, they fund things that I don’t regard as worthy of funding.

    For another, I know – being a government employee myself – how government budgeting works, and it is inherently wasteful. By that I mean that what taxpayers see as “waste” is actually unavoidable given the size and objectives of government spending. The government always spends more to get less, because of diseconomies the Congress builds into the process in an attempt to manage spending, and to try to minimize “fraud and waste.”

    The idea that the federal government should be making, or selecting the people who make, artistic decisions for the whole country is a relatively recent one. Before the New Deal, most such spending was (a) local and (b) private. The base for the Statue of Liberty was funded by private donations. Much of the artistic wealth of places like New York City was funded privately. And as a result, we didn’t get stupid “art” like “Tilted Arc.” Google it (yes, I know that wasn’t funded by the NEA – but it was government funded.) My point is that private decisions are less costly, and more meritorious, than collective decisions.

    Furthermore, government spending actually displaces private spending. Once government takes over a function, people expect government to perform that function, and stop doing it themselves. If you are taxed for something, you figure that you shouldn’t have to pay twice. Do you clean your streets when they get trashy, or do you call the city and ask why your street hasn’t been cleaned?

    While I can’t point to specific evidence that this occurs in the arts, there have been many studies showing that this is the case in general, and there’s no reason to suppose it is different for the arts. I do know that in my own case, my taxes here in Illinois went up a couple of thousand dollars this year. In order to pay those taxes, I had to not spend money somewhere else. Over half of that money came out of my arts donation budget.

    Everybody who argues for their own government program spending not to be cut says – as Mr. Robbins does – that it’s only a small amount. But small amounts add up. We have allowed the government to spend all kinds of small amounts on things that really are nice to have, but which we cannot, in total, afford. And now, we find ourselves maxed out on our collective credit card. It is time to stop spending.

    I suggest to Mr. Robbins that he should take his relatively large fortune and even larger reputation & prestige, and work privately with similarly situated people to fund a private NEA. It will be more effective than the federal version, and will probably encourage more responsible choices about exactly how the money is to be used.

  16. [...] usually review Tim Robbin’s open minute to Congress. Here have been my 2 cents — from a mom / choreographer / enlightenment [...]

  17. [...] usually review Tim Robbin’s open minute to Congress. Here have been my 2 cents — from a mom / choreographer / enlightenment [...]

  18. Lemastre says:

    The pittance the U.S. spends to fund the arts is bound to come up whenever the politicos go on a deficit-reducing kick. And when about 80 percent of the budget consists of expenses that are not permitted serious consideration for cutting (e.g., wars in the oil-rich desert nations), it’s certainly understandable that this little bit of money is in the crosshairs.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Tim Robbins should just shut his piehole. Does he think Democrats are funding the symphonies, opera companies, art museums, and other cultural institutions of the U.S.? The overwhelming percentage of arts supporters are die hard Republicans. The same “rich people” that liberal morons want to tax are the people who are paying a huge percentage of our taxes and funding our arts and culturals programs through America. Tim Robbins is the exception, not the rule (assuming he does in fact make private contributions to arts programs).

    • artsfunder says:

      Obviously, you’ve never been involved in arts funding. The idea that most arts funding comes from “rich Republicans” is not reflected in any donor studies that I’ve ever seen. My experience has also been that the converse is actually true.

  20. Dion Wright says:

    Dear Mr. Robbins,

    I hope that your polemic is more than an exercise in futility, but you’re talking Greek to savages. Your demographic slice of reactionism may be bigger than you think. The Bubba factor created during the Reagan era is still with us, and still earnestly voting against its own self-interest. These nincompoops are the swing vote.

    The Arts will continue with or without NEA, or any other agencies. Especially the entertainment Arts. Real artists are propelled into their passions by other motivations than economics. You can no more extirpate the Arts than you can bacteria.

    Schools are diminished without Arts programs, and there is where the effort to inculcate cultural yearning ought to be stressed. All the same, those star-crossed individual tots who are inner-directed will find their Muse whether the NEA helps, or not. Grown-ups who want to pursue Art are already alert to the social topography, but little kids probably need to get the exposure. That’s where the value of tax dollars spent is most future-oriented.

    I do agree with those who regard much of grant-funding as money down a rat hole. Every artist, and all those many poseurs, as well, have a right to exploit the prevailing situation and to glom such bucks as they can via grants. The main responsibility of Arts funds administrators might be the canny separation of the Makers from the Fakers. God knows the latter outnumber the former.

    best regards,

    Dion Wright

  21. Tina Chaden says:

    We are living in a time where it is getting harder for a young person to afford go to college, get a job or raise a family. How does one cope with all that frustration, anger and lack of hope for the future? When I was a teen I could go into the art dept. at school and design a t-shirt or poster to protest against a war, racism or the lack of woman’s rights.
    If I did not have the ability to draw I could start a school newspaper or write a play that my friends could perform in. We had a small film class, and a music room where kids got a rock band together or wrote poetry they performed with a guitar. We were taught constructive ways to communicate our feelings about the world and how we were being treated. We may not have been able to effect real change in the world, but it was our learned ability through the arts to express ourselves that empowered us, and made us feel part of a community, a country.
    How will an anxious, angry, hopeless and frustrated young person express themselves
    in 2012, buy a gun?

  22. Craig says:

    For Mr. Robbins to suggest that without Government funding (aka, taking my money at gunpoint and paying bureaucrats to distribute it), the artist community will not survive, is quite insulting to artists. I don’t think anyone is arguing that art is unimportant; the argument is whether a free society can manage their money better within a private framework rather than a government bureaucracy.

    Sure, the NEA’s 2011 budget of $161.3 Million may seem quite paltry within a $3.82 Trillion budget and gross federal debt of $14.6 Trillion (unfunded liabilities over $100 Trillion), so arguing about a state funded arts program is really tantamount to debating what the proper size and role of government should be.

    The government is expanding exponentially, we simply need to bring it under control and give the power back to the people. The State is not “We the People.” The Federal Reserve and semi-national banking system robs our savings via inflation and low interest which enables the federal budget to expand without restraint, funding unending wars and enslaving the population. I’d be fine with keeping the NEA but please end the FEDERAL RESERVE!!!

  23. Alexa says:

    Tim Robbins should give more credit to the artists.. he sounds like he is saying the NEA is responsible for everything that has ever been done in the Arts!!

    Maybe the people would be better off without the government picking and choosing what it considers “good art”, it would lead to a more organic array of culture and art…

  24. Richard K-Mcdonnell says:

    Thank You Mr. Robbins, your voice is needed to help provide clarity in the confusion cloud over these times. I think over the past decade, we have seen several examples of blinkered spending reduction and lack of funding around creativity, initiative and future progress (e.g. “no child left behind, healthy skies, etc”) Congress continues is some abstract way to hold on to child like behaviors, with both houses seeing which can out-shout the other, without hearing the nation screaming for real leadership. We all need to look at how we can help get the United States of America, through this time, without loosing the core values of our society, freedom to express, believe and hope. I think congress need to do the same, putting aside petty bickering, and focusing on some to the real cherries for belt tightening closer to home in Washington.
    So thank you, I believe that National Endowment of Arts, do good work and support a core value in this country, that is essential for our progress.
    R McDonnell

  25. [...] just read Tim Robbin’s open letter to Congress. Here are my 2 cents — from a mom / choreographer / culture [...]

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