Yo-Yo Ma joins rocker to call for US arts funding
WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to increase funding for the arts in a year of deep federal budget cuts.
The rocker and classical musician played a jam session briefly together for a gathering of legislators and arts advocates from across the country who planned to visit congressional offices. They performed with bagpiper Cristina Pato and dancing star Lil Buck.
Sorum said his mother was a music teacher and that his high school classes in orchestra, jazz and marching band were critical in launching his career in music and in business. More recently he has started a charity to support arts education in Los Angeles. Guns N' Roses was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last year.
Sorum said he was excited to visit Washington to press Congress for funding.
"This is the coolest thing I've done since Madison Square Garden, I've got to say. Slash is going to be really jealous," he said, referring to the lead guitarist from Guns N' Roses and now the group Velvet Revolver. "If I can navigate the music business, I'm going to have fun navigating Congress."
The group Americans for the Arts is pushing for funding to be restored to $155 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Last year each agency received about $146 million and lost about $7 million of that due to Congress' automatic budget cuts.
House Republican budget leaders have called for eliminating the two agencies altogether.
Still, Republican Rep. Leonard Lance of New Jersey joined advocates Tuesday, saying the arts benefit the entire nation.
Arts programs face a daunting budget environment. With the $7 million in automatic budget cuts, each endowment stands at $139 million for the current fiscal year. Overall, each has lost about $30 million in annual funding since 2010. It's an even bigger drop since the endowments' high point of $176 million in arts funding in 1992.
Ma has pressed for greater focus and funding for the arts in education, joining a White House initiative to help turn around failing schools with arts programs. He also called for including the arts with the educational emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. Creativity connects the other subjects, Ma said, and helps students become self-motivated and innovative.
"It seems to me that many of the skills in terms of what children need in order to succeed ... are actually best modeled through the arts," Ma said.
Americans for the Arts: http://www.artsusa.org/
Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Carl Bradford, Marquis Flowers highlight list of local products who made NFL rosters
- Anu Solomon, UA Wildcats roll over UNLV Rebels in season opener
- Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne says goal is Territorial Cup, then Pac-12 championship
- Arizona vs. UNLV preview: Wildcats to debut freshman QB
- Arizona Wildcats to be a Pac-12 South surprise?
- Greg Byrne - Arizona Athletic Director - Friday August 29Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne previews the 2014 Arizona football season
- Bearing Down with Adam and Jarrett - Aug. 28 - Thursday August 28Adam and Jarrett preview Arizona's 2014 football season and season opener vs. UNLV.
- Rich Rodriguez, Head Coach UA Football - Monday August 25Who will be his starting quarterback and how will he replace Ka'Deem Carey?
- Greg Byrne, University of Arizona Athletic Director - Friday August 8Greg Byrne talks about the new ruling that gives autonomy to the Power 5 conferences.
- Bucky Brooks, NFL Network draft analyst - Friday May 2Bucky Brooks discusses what the Cardinals should do with the 20th overall pick.