The following post was originally posted in March 2017. Nearly a year later, as the federal budget again proposes deep cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the sentiment is stronger than ever. Since then, the Museum received an IMLS grant to support the Japanese Print Initiative, which will create online access to the Museum’s collection of almost 3,000 traditional and modern Japanese prints, books, and portfolios. Additionally the current Picturing Oregon exhibition features works that have been digitized and cataloged as part of a previous NEA Art Works grant.
The Portland Art Museum joins museums and cultural institutions across the country in opposition to the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The arts are essential to our shared humanity and provide unparalleled opportunities for reflection, creative expression, and most importantly, connection to each other.
Art impacts people of all ages and from all backgrounds, and the Museum provides the space and resources that make that impact felt even more deeply—from focused programs for children and people living with dementia, to tours for visitors who are blind or partially sighted, and lectures for all. Our education and public programs inspire as well as offer tools that turn art into powerful lessons on history and empathy. School field trip tours open up new horizons to students and give them a broader sense of their place in the world. Each new exhibition and program offers a new opportunity to form lasting community partnerships that further extend the impact that the Museum is able to make.
The NEA, NEH, and IMLS have been vital partners in our ability to serve our community—locally and nationally. Funding has supported increased access to the Native American and Northwest art collections, as well as Northwest Film Center education and exhibition programs, among many other projects. The NEA’s crucial indemnity program for exhibitions and loans of artwork has made it possible to present many masterworks in Portland. Additionally, through the Oregon Arts Commission, the NEA provides operating support to the Museum.
The support that the Museum and other local and regional organizations have received from the NEA, NEH, and IMLS has helped to shape the dynamic cultural and civic environment that we hold dear. The Portland Art Museum strongly urges Congress to continue funding these agencies, whose work sustains our quality of life and provides real economic value across the country. Our experiences with art create a shared sense of community, nationality, and ultimately humanity—something more important now than ever.