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Arts & Life

Considering possible major federal funding cuts to the arts and museums


The federal budget proposed by President Donald Trump would make cuts in a number of programs, including those that fund the arts and the humanities.

Bruce Barnes says eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would have a “tremendous negative effect” on the George Eastman Museum.

Barnes is director of that world-renowned photography museum on East Avenue, and he says grants from those federal agencies have helped that museum immensely.

“There have been almost 800 films that have been preserved here with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; there have been almost 600 photographs which we acquired with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; there was a large grant to preserve 1270 daguerreotypes,” he told WXXI News.

Barnes says museums play a very important role in the culture life of the community and support educational programs for a wide variety of people.

“Museums play a very important role in the cultural life of the community and they support educational programs for young and old people as well as special programs to train medical students to be better doctors, to aid veterans in recovery from PTSD.”

George Eastman Museum Director Bruce Barnes

Barnes says if these cuts go through, they would likely have to cut staff, but the museum would survive.

“There are some smaller organizations that are heavily dependent so we would find ourselves in a position where we’d have to stop doing some things that are very important, but we would persevere. There are other organizations that are smaller, that I think might not be able to make it.”

Barnes says he will be reaching out to New York’s federal representatives in the hopes these budget cuts for the arts and museums do not become a reality.