Letter to the Editor: NEA funding essential

To arts programs in rural communities


May was National Chamber Music Month and also the last month of concerts of the Taos Chamber Music Group's 24th season. It is hard to believe it has been nearly a quarter century since our series began. So much of TCMG's ongoing success has been because of the extraordinary support of the Taos community, but also thanks to a huge boost in our early days from the National Endowment for the Arts through its funding of New Mexico Arts.

As a professional flutist when I began TCMG, I had no experience in organizing and running a performing arts organization. When I went to music school it was still in the rarefied milieu of practice rooms, private lessons, coaching sessions and orchestral playing. We were not trained, as schools do now, to know how to promote ourselves or to create new and unique ways in which to be performers. I have New Mexico Arts to thank for helping me build those skills and for their guidance and support through the infancy of TCMG. I know I am not alone in the gratitude I feel for their assistance in being able to bring this kind of program to a rural community such as Taos, to create something that hadn't existed here before, and to build an organization that has become an integral part of our prodigious cultural scene.

Arts organizations nationwide will be adversely impacted if the National Endowment for the Arts is defunded. In Taos alone, the Taos Center for the Arts, Harwood Museum and Taos Youth Music School, to name but a few, depend to some degree on support from the NEA and NM Arts. Please let your members of Congress know how important it is to live in a place that recognizes the invaluable contribution of the arts to its society.

– Nancy Laupheimer, director/flutist, Taos Chamber Music Group