Opinion: Defunding the Arts is shortsighted

By Sue and Steve Russell

As New Hampshire craftspeople, juried members of League of N.H. Craftsmen, we are very concerned about the New Hampshire House’s decision to defund the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts.

The tradition of supporting the Arts in New Hampshire goes all the way back to 1932 – three years into the Great Depression –  when then Gov. Winnant signed the first bill in the Nation to fund a commission of state Arts & Crafts.

Gov. Winnant saw clearly – even in the depths of the Great Depression – the economic potential of developing a state sponsored craft enterprise. As a result of this the League of N.H. Craftsmen was born.

One of the primary purposes of the League is to foster and encourage the tradition of craft and in this regard the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts has been indispensable in fulfilling this mission.

NHSCA helps provide services to nearly 800 juried members of the League as well as other individuals and organizations involved in the Arts.

Needless to say the state’s involvement in the Arts has helped to place New Hampshire as a destination for those seeking fine art and craft.

To defund the NHSCA would be very shortsighted and have a crippling effect on the Arts which have proven over the years to be an invaluable asset to the State. The League of N.H. Craftmen’s fair generates at least 2 million in sales annually.

On behalf of the many artisan’s throughout the state, I urge the senate to remove this provision from the New Hampshire budget bill. Let us maintain our proud New Hampshire tradition of doing what we can to maintain the vibrant presence of the arts in our social fabric

2 Responses

  1. These are tough times and government has no business funding the arts. If the are is good there are plenty of people who will buy it. The market should be the judge and not government suporting all sorts of junk art.

  2. Front Door Politics in its Daily Dispatch for April 21, 2011 reported:
    “The [NH House] committee also recommended removing a House proposal to abolish the state Department of Cultural Resources moving its divisions into other state agencies and cutting the correlating budget — from the $427,000 proposed in February by Gov. John Lynch to $4,700 recommended by the House.

    The House measure would also defund the New Hampshire Arts Council. If passed, that would make New Hampshire the only state in the country without an arts council or commission.”

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