MW’s annual meetings are always opportunities for the community to come together and offer mutual support, but this year MW17 will serve a particularly urgent need to help our U.S. colleagues strategize and respond to the recent attacks on cultural organizations and creative practice that are represented by the budget proposed by the current U.S. administration, aimed at eliminating all Federal funding for the arts and humanities as well as deep cuts for scientific agencies. Beyond the obvious detriment to our anchor institutions and cultural heritage, these attacks are aligned with a similar de-emphasis on the representation of those in our society who have historically been excluded and unheard from in our shared discourse.
As a result, it’s now more important than ever to hear, amplify, and ally with the concerns of all citizens, be they persons with disabilities, those who do not subscribe to a heteronormative viewpoint of the world, people of color, and of all religions, ethnicities, and gender identifications. As has been reported by Hyperallergic and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) among others, representatives from both sides of the U.S. Congress have recently joined in publicly calling for support and funding for the IMLS and NEA. AAM’s website offers tips and links to add your voice and urge the House and the Senate to support these critical agencies and through them, the work of thousands of essential organizations and initiatives around the country. In a recent newsletter, The Baltimore National Heritage Area also offered a handy set of links that allow you to send a customizable message to your elected representatives in Congress through the National Humanities Alliance and/or the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and urge them to oppose any attempt to eliminate or cut funding to the National Heritage Area program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and the Institute Of Museum and Library Services.
We also oppose the resolution passed by Congress and signed into law by the President that compromises the privacy of Internet users. This attack furthers the attack on Net Neutrality and has deep implications for creators and stewards of culture everywhere, since the Internet is now our common platform, culture, and heritage.
What other timely topics would you like to see addressed at the Conference in Cleveland? Where do you need help, on projects or larger issues? Propose them for the MW17 Clinic or Birds of a Feather Breakfast.
We look forward to talking with you about it all in Cleveland!