Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, have responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for cuts to the arts.
In an open letter shared to CNN on Thursday, the Academy Award winner and writer-producer questioned the president’s first proposal to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.
“This is mind-boggling to us, considering how much the arts benefit our lives and our world,” Andrews and Hamilton wrote in the letter. “They foster collaboration and creativity, essential skills for navigating in the workplace and surviving in a challenging world. They cultivate empathy and tolerance by bridging cultural and socioeconomic divides.”
Listing the benefits they have experienced in their professional and personal 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.”
Speaking of Hamilton’s Bay Street Theatre in New York, which offers Young Audience programming, they added, “[Emma] has watched 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 arts are fundamental to our common humanity,” they continued. “Every time we attend the theatre, a museum or a concert, we are literally feeding our souls, and investing in and preserving our collective future. To paraphrase the great Katherine Anne Porter, when all about us is lying in the ashes, it is the arts that remind us who we are, where we came from and what matters most.”
Meanwhile, comedian Billy Eichner weighed in on the news with a tweet targeting the Ivanka Trump.