While calls for a general strike failed to materialize a nationwide walkout on January 20, the inauguration of Trump did spur one group to flex their economic value and mobilize: arts and culture workers.
Dozens of organizations, museums, and spaces closed in protest on January 20. Additionally, culture workers including NYC’s musical theater community came out in force, raising money for social justice causes through performances of ad hoc musical numbers aimed at the country’s arguably illegitimate president.
Trump – who sailed to his position of power through virulent anti-intellectualism – succeeds by tearing people apart. He and his acolytes plan to further their nihilistic agenda by shredding federal arts and culture funding, evidenced by leaked documents that reveal that the demagogic Trump plans on eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional plans to privatize the National Broadcasting Company. These programs account for an infinitesimal part of the federal budget. Their elimination would have a debilitating effect on arts nonprofits and community organizations across the nation.
Now, more than ever, it is important for artists to keep creating, to both enshrine the role that the arts play in our culture and to provide tools for consciousness building that can lead to a larger, inclusive movement for positive change.