Art programs potentially threatened under Trump administration

donald trump and betsey devos shakes hands with students and teachers in a classroom
President Donald Trump greets fourth grader Janayah Chatelier as U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos greets St. Andrew Catholic School fourth grade teacher Jane Jones on March 3, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Looking on is Florida governor Rick Scott, second from left, Florida senator Marco Rubio, third from left, and John Kirtley, far right, a tax-credit scholarship proponent. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Ric Alviso, chair of the music department, along with many others, believes the arts are in danger now that President Trump has taken office.

Since the appointment of Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, many have expressed concerns about the future of the public education which has steadily declined in California.

“I give for two different types of causes,” Alviso said. “Medical because it extends life and music because it gives life meaning.”

According to the California Alliance for Arts Education, “school curricula is narrowing in focus, leading to a 22 percent reduction in the amount of time spent on arts and music instruction.”

“We do feel the effects of funding from K-12,” Alviso said.

He said the incoming freshmen accepted into the department require more remedial classes in music theory and technique since they have not been exposed to the material before.

Alviso said he feels sad for students learning in the inner city since their parents may not have the resources to help. Between 2007-2012, the Los Angeles Unified School District dropped funding for the arts by 76 percent.

The department chair said the possibility of further cuts coming that smaller programs and organizations are the more likely to suffer. These programs usually support marginalized communities which could lower representation and diversity in the arts, according to Alviso.

He also said music creates mental strength and the same pathways of the brain used in music have a strong connection to math and science. He said that music contributes to one becoming a well-rounded individual.

“Government has a role to be able to fund artistic ventures,” he said.

Though Alviso commented that funding usually has strings attached, some might want to control the message expressed through the art or music.

According to Steve Torres, 27, a music major, music education has afforded him several opportunities throughout his life.

“It’s something that’s ingrained into my sense of identity and not something easy to give up,” Torres said. “Without a music education I would have never had the chance to serve as an Army musician.”

Torres said that if public education loses funding, school arts programs will most likely shut down throughout the US “with low income areas unfortunately taking the biggest hit.”