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Alec Baldwin and a collection of actors and singers went to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, hoping to secure more government spending on the arts.
The Associated Press reports that Baldwin, actors Hill Harper, Melina Kanakaredes and Tiffani Thiessen were joined by singers Ben Folds and Clay Walker in Washington as part of Americans for the Arts, a non-profit organization that tries to spread awareness for arts and arts education around the US.
“The arts are beyond essential,” the 30 Rock star told the media at a press conference, according to The Epoch Times. “Make no mistake, we are right now $90 to $100 million less in actual federal subsidies,” he added. Baldwin noted the serious decline in federal arts funding since the 1990s.
Harper, who stars on CBS’ CSI: NY, added, “We can’t be silent any more, we have to be louder.”
Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) also stressed the importance of arts education, which can help students learn higher level- thinking skills. “The arts are truly the embodiment of who we are and what we value. Without federal funding, the diffusion of this understanding and insight and empathy with the others among us will suffer,” he said.
The National Endowment for the Arts received $147 million in federal funds for 2012. The delegation is hoping that it will rise to $155 million for 2013.
Baldwin claims that investing in the arts will also help our economy in the long run, notes The AFP. "Our economy is still very strong. We have what (Italy) doesn't have -- a great humming, steaming economy -- and we don't get the art thing right all the time," he said. "We are sending the wrong signal. We say that it is not important for the government to spend money on arts.”