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Northeast Small College Art Museum Association (NESCAMA) Statement on funding for the arts

March 23, 2017

We, the directors of the Northeast Small College Art Museum Association (NESCAMA), are deeply concerned about potential budget cuts that threaten funding so vital to us and to the good work that arts organizations do throughout the nation. We must continue to hold the line and to promote the arts energetically through the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

With small operational budgets, college and university art museums are particularly reliant on funding from the NEH, NEA, and IMLS. This funding preserves artistic, ethnographic, scientific, and historic collections, and creates access to cultural heritage unique to our respective diverse communities. This funding not only supports essential infrastructure, it enables us to pursue transformative programs that provide employment for emerging and young professionals. This funding ensures that our collections are interpreted, understood, and valued.

College and university art museums are uniquely — and importantly — positioned to make connections beyond the fine arts, to include disciplines from science to business, and to foster engagement beyond campus and into our communities. Our work inspires scholarship and engenders innovation. Our museums provide opportunities for young scholars to explore ideas and worlds that are challenging, encouraging critical thinking that will be of use in any professional path they choose to follow after graduation.

During this era of increasing polarization, museums, through their collections and exhibitions, demonstrate that there are multiple points of view and that these points of view can coexist.

While the debate about federal funding for the arts is nothing new, we encourage members of Congress to recognize that the resilience of the NEH, NEA, and IMLS, despite opposition over the years, is a testament to their enduring value.

Signed,

David E. Little, Director & Chief Curator
Mead Art Museum at Amherst College
 
Dan Mills, Director
Bates Museum of Art, Bates College
 
Anne Collins Goodyear & Frank H. Goodyear, Co-Directors
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College
 
Kristin Parker, Interim Director
The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University
 
Jo-Ann Conklin, Director
David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University
 
Sharon Corwin, Carolyn Muzzy Director and Chief Curator
Colby College Museum of Art, Colby College
 
Anja Chávez, Director of University Museums
Longyear Museum of Anthropology/Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University
 
Tracy L. Adler, Johnson-Pote Director
Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College
 
Richard Saunders, Director
Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury College
 
Tricia Y. Paik, Florence Finch Abbott Director
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College

Janie Cohen, President, Board of Directors
New England Museum Association
 
Ian Berry, Dayton Director
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College
 
Jessica Nicoll, Director and Louise Ines Doyle '34 Chief Curator
Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College
 
Kristina L. Durocher, Director
Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire
 
James Mundy, The Anne Hendricks Bass Director
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
 
Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro '37 Director
Davis Museum at Wellesley College
 
Clare I. Rogan, Curator
Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University
 
Christina Olsen, Class of 1956 Director
Williams College Museum of Art, Williams College