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Alphabet Soup, Second Course

Last week I talked about the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS), which, along with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (BPB), and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are on the chopping block in President Trump’s budget.

But what about the National Heritage Areas (NHAs), and how does it connect to the cultural community?

First of all, NHAs is managed by the National Park Service (NPS), and is also threatened by the proposed FY18 Budget.

NHAs are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, nationally important landscapes. Unlike national parks, NHAs are large lived-in landscapes. Consequently, these entities collaborate with communities to determine how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs, and tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation’s diverse histories.

Our very own Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA) covers roughly 22 square miles! The core includes the historic neighborhoods around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, extends west to the Gwynn’s Falls and Leakin Park, and reaches north to include Druid Hill Park and the Cylburn Arboretum. The heritage area is not contiguous: Mount Auburn Cemetery is also included within the area boundary.

BHNA offers walking tours through the Urban Heritage Trail Network, funding opportunities for organizations within the Heritage Area, historical educational experiences for students, and various projects and programs that recognize and protect resources. Click here to see their full 2016 Year in Review. BNHA is also a partner with GBCA in the Making a Home for Art in Sacred Places Program which is administered by Partners for Sacred Places.

Now more than ever it is important for everyone to contact your members of Congress to let them know that you support all agencies that help local organizations. Although President Trump’s initial attempt to cancel the NHAs, NEH, NEA, CPB, and IMLS in the federal FY17 budget was stopped by Congress, the President’s FY18 budget once again proposes the elimination of these agencies. It’s not too late to have influence on the 2018 budget, because the final authorization is in the hands of the U.S. Congress. Contact your Senators and Representatives today and let them know that you value arts and culture.

Most urgently, National Heritage Areas learned that all funding for their Heritage Investment Grant awards must go all the way to the Secretary of the Interior’s office for approval. This directive is for the entire Department of the Interior, and could result will be an immediate loss of $100,000 in funding to Baltimore’s sites and attractions.

Please act now!

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