I am a visual artist who spends a great deal of time volunteering within my community. Currently, I am doing a residency with Lincoln Elementary School, thanks to the local support of O.C Tanner, who gave Lincoln a grant to be used for its art program.

The continuous battle for support in the areas of arts and humanities has created soldiers, like myself, who are persistent in their pursuit for a community that is enriched by the arts. The arts are valuable to human development. Basic cultural literacy is heightened through them. The arts raise awareness and appreciation for past generations and acknowledge our own place in history. It is a doorway into many cultures teaching people admiration for diversity. The arts stimulate the use of both hemispheres of the brain and expand cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills. They develop self-esteem by giving young people an opportunity to work through their fears in a creative manner.Low self-esteem is recognized as the root of major societal problems including violence and substance abuse. And yet the arts, which raise self-esteem, remain a target for federal and state cuts. Meanwhile, greater moneys are required for building, operating and maintaining new prisons. The irony is astounding!

The result affects the entire country. There are many people who realize that art is the heart of humanity. It speaks of cultures, religions and social belief systems. Would you cut the heart out of your child and expect that she would survive without it?

Federal support must be maintained and even strengthened as society's designs and creative ideas become more and more sophisticated. Numerous nonprofit groups continue to thrive through the devoted support of volunteers who, together, have a sound, articulate and unified voice in this matter. There is rational expectation that the federal government be responsive to our needs and share in the responsibility for human, cultural development in our country. I strongly oppose cuts to the arts and humanities, including public broadcasting, because I know how vital they are.

Alison Marie Perreault

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Salt Lake City

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