Beyond the Concert Hall and (Back) Into the Federal Budget

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Federal support for the arts, humanities, and public broadcasting has been getting a lot of attention these days, and, unfortunately, it’s not because of all the wonderful things we do.

If you’re wondering what you can do to help, check out our 3 Actions You Can Take Right Now.

(And, Alumni – we need you!)

What’s Happening

The 2018 budget proposed by President Trump to Congress would eliminate four independent cultural agencies:

  1. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
  2. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
  3. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and
  4. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

What These Organizations Do:

Together, our national cultural agencies provide:

  • Free, proven-effective educational programming
  • News coverage that we can trust
  • Lifesaving emergency alert services
  • Coverage and services that matter to our communities
  • Resources that reach our nation’s rural and underserved populations
  • And more!

(Taken from

The NEA is a direct funder of From the Top, supporting our national tour and educational activities. The CPB provides essential support to many small classical music radio stations around the country who are delivering world-class music and cultural programming to communities which otherwise would not have the opportunity to listen.

This is more than “just” a money issue, however.

The items that do or do not make it into the budget are all indicative of the beliefs of our leaders about what is important for our country. In an interview with CBS This Morning on Monday, April 3, Grammy- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician and composer Wynton Marsalis explains:

The National Budget is symbolic, so you’re basically telling the world, ‘This is what we, as a nation, think about our arts,’ which is really our collective memory and wisdom. It’s painful to see it. It’s not just painful, it’s ignorant. We don’t want to be viewed in the world that way.

What This Means For Us (And You)

There’s no doubt From the Top would not be the dynamic organization it is without the support of the NEA and the CPB. More importantly, our young musicians would not have inspired millions – yes, millions – of fans with their incredible talent, entertaining stories, and commitment to the power of music.

Among those millions of listeners, you will find young performers all across the country who are inspired to practice hard and dream bigger. Some will even be moved to audition for and be accepted to perform live on the show, continuing the cycle.

In our nearly 20-year history, more than 3,000 young musicians have shared their love of classical music with the world and have been given the freedom to discover first-hand what being a musician in the 21st century means to them.

From 12-year-old cellist Ian Maloney, one of our most recent #fttalumni:

Performing for my peers at a school event made me realize that, through music, I can be a positive role model for other young people, showing them what is possible when you set your mind to something and stick with it.

 3 Actions You Can Take Right Now

1. Make Art

Be part of the movement to remind our legislators that arts and culture are an integral part of who we are as citizens of the United States and as human beings. You don’t need to have formal training to make art. Share your work on social media using the hashtags #SavetheNEA and #SavetheCPB. Whether they’re clips of you practicing, sketching, dancing – it’s all good!

2. Contact Your Representatives and Senators (In 5 minutes or less)

Visit the Americans for the Arts Action Center to use their pre-written letter template to easily send a message supporting the NEA to your legislators. Editing the template is easy and you are encouraged to make it personal to you.

Don’t know who your legislators are? They have a resource for that.

3. Share Your Story (In 60 seconds)

We recently attended the Arts Matters Advocacy Day here in Boston, and one of the speakers reminded us that the arts world has for decades possessed strong, factual case studies proving the importance of arts education and the impact of arts on the economy – and yet the debate still rages. So, what the arts world needs is an influx of stories told by people whose lives have been enhanced by the arts. Artists or not.

If Pixar can make us cry for a fictional character in about 2 minutes without using any words, you can make a positive impact on this issue with your art and/or your story.

Share your story on social media using #SavetheNEA and #SavetheCPB. Tag us in your post for us to share it.

From the Top Alumni

You are part of a community of more than 3,000 artists who have experienced, first-hand, the power of music and the importance of storytelling. With your stories and talents, you have inspired your peers to work hard and dream big while encouraging our listeners to get excited about the future of classical music (no small feat). You have worked with us to define the role of the arts in our society, creating new, exciting partnerships and stronger community relationships all across the country.

Let’s Take Music Beyond the Concert Hall and (Back) Into the Federal Budget.

  1. Record a brief (30 – 60 seconds) clip with your smartphone about how music and/or the arts have impacted your life. Why does music matter?
  2. Share your clip on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter
  3. Use the hashtags #SavetheNEA and #SavetheCPB
  4. Tag us in your post so we can amplify your message (FaceBook: @From the Top • Instagram: @fromthetopfans • Twitter: @classicalkid

When we work together, we can make a difference.

What do you think of the recent federal budget proposal? Let us know in the comments!

As always, one of the best ways to show your support for the arts is to make a donation to the non-profits doing the work that you care about. If you are interested in making a gift to From the Top, please click here.