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Standing up for the arts benefits us all

The fine arts community has been a hot topic since Donald Trump was elected president. From talk of defunding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) earlier this year, to the president tweeting about actors and filmmakers harassing him on shows like Saturday Night Live, there is no denying that we live in a world that is often hostile to creators and performers.

But we also cannot deny just how important the arts are. A number of us can probably recall the feeling of caking on too much makeup for our seventh grade performance of The Music Man. We all love to binge-watch our favorite shows on Netflix. Thousands of us turned out to see Nick Jonas and Skylar Grey when they performed on the Hilltop last month.

The world would be a different place without the arts. And America would be a different place without proper funding for the arts.

Currently, members of the arts world are in panic mode: Congress is set to vote on a budget that would decide the funding for the NEA, and a number of arts charities (like the Fine Arts Association and Americans for the Arts) could be hit hard by proposed tax reforms.

But these charities are also some of the most important ones this countrys got. They provide outreach education opportunities for kids in low-income areas to get involved in theater, music and art classes. They help fund community theater and musical group performances across the country.

Its important to realize how lucky we are to have such great access to the arts at Bradley. This week alone campus and the surrounding community exploded with fine arts events. The theater departments opening night of Little Women, the Emergence art gallery exhibit at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, and film screenings put on by various culture and academic clubs are just a few examples.

Not everybody has that access.

Even if people choose not to pursue the arts as careers, theres no denying their importance in schools and communities. As beneficiaries of the fine arts in whatever form that may be it is our responsibility to support it for those who come after us.

Call your Congressmen and urge them to consider the importance of fine arts. Remind them that October is National Arts and Humanities Month.

Whether we are creating, taking a stand or simply appreciating them, we all have a role to play in preserving the arts.

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