Julie Andrews is taking a stand for artists everywhere.
Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton wrote an op-ed column for CNN Thursday urging elected representatives and individuals to fight to preserve funding for the arts in response to President Trump’s budget proposal for 2018.
The proposal released earlier Thursday called for the elimination of funding for the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — a key source of support for PBS and NPR.
“This is mind-boggling to us, considering how much the arts benefit our lives and our world,” Andrews, 81, and Hamilton, 54, wrote in their joint piece. “They foster collaboration and creativity, essential skills for navigating in the workplace and surviving in a challenging world.”
They continued: “They cultivate empathy and tolerance, by bridging cultural and socioeconomic divides. They’re also good for business: They spur urban renewal, promote tourism and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity annually.”
Listing how the arts have benefitted both their personal and professional lives, they said, “Julie has heard from countless people over the decades who believe their lives were enriched by the inspiration, comfort and sense of connection they received from the music, stories, films and productions in which she was fortunate enough to participate.”
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Hamilton’s Bay Street Theatre in New York, which offers Young Audience Programming, has given her the opportunity to watch “young people with no prior sense of direction discover their voices and their passion, improve their academic record, and, perhaps most significantly, grow into compassionate, contributing citizens, as a result of taking part in arts-based programs.”
The mother-daughter duo noted that poor inner-city and rural communities, whose access to such resources are scarce to begin with, will feel the most weight of these losses.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that this is the first time a president has called for ending the endowments.
“The arts are fundamental to our common humanity,” Andrews and Hamilton said. “Every time we attend the theater, a museum or a concert, we are literally feeding our souls, and investing in and preserving our collective future.”
The letter ends with a call to action to “every member of our society” to “do everything possible to preserve and advance this most precious and essential resource, and demand that our elected representatives do the same.”
Andrews and Hamilton will team up again for Julie’s Greenroom, a new Netflix series premiering Friday that was created to educate the next generation about the arts.
Read Andrews and Hamilton’s full essay here.