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President Trump’s budget plan would cut thousands from Quad City Arts

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- A Quad Cities organization that supports music and the arts could lose nearly $100,000 under President Trump's budget proposal.

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, Trump unveiled his first budget plan, which includes $54 million in cuts. The cuts are meant to offset increases in spending on defense, homeland security, and veterans affairs.

The budget would also eliminate funding entirely for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Carmen Darland, CEO of Quad City Arts, said the nonprofit receives about $100,000 from the NEA each year. The money supports the Visiting Artist Series, as well as Quad City Arts' general operations.

The Visiting Artist Series brings various artists to dozens of local schools for performances and lectures every year.

On Thursday, Grammy-winning jazz pianist Laurence Hobgood spoke with Augustana College students as part of the series.

"These days, you know, where else frankly are these kids going to get this information? Especially, as it were, from the horse's mouth, sort of from somebody who actually does it," said Hobgood.

Hobgood said he's concerned about cuts to art programs across the country.

"Maybe it's time to reevaluate," said Hobgood. "Maybe culture and the arts is a little more important than we had thought."

Still, many believe the arts will survive with or without government support.

"People are going to keep making music, even if there's no funding for it," said student Garrin Jost. "And while I don't think that's a justification for cutting the funding, I think music will be alright."

If the President's budget proposal goes through, Darland says Quad City Arts would need to fundraise to make up for the cuts. Eliminating programs would be a last resort, she said.