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A Call to Protect Funding for the Arts

A Letter from Michael Ritchie


The Music Center under construction.

When Center Theatre Group opened our doors in Los Angeles in 1967, the regional theatre movement in this country was in its infancy. It was a bold vision and brought with it a cultural renaissance. A fundamental component of this new theatre model was philanthropic funding, including from the government. Regional theatre was never meant to survive solely based on revenue from ticket sales.

From those earliest days, theatres across the country were championing new voices and provocative ideas, which can be a risky effort. And yet, the belief was strong that a great city wasn’t possible without great theatre. We cannot let the baton drop. We must continue to provide a forum for debate, conversation, and yes, entertainment.

Los Angeles is home to more live theatre than any other city in the world, and that wouldn’t be possible without generous support on all fronts. As the current political climate puts the future of organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities into question, we must not let our leaders forget the importance of art.

Symbolically, for the federal government to say that the arts or the humanities are not worthy of support is a major statement and one that I do not support. So, we join our fellow cultural organizations around the country in demanding that the arts be protected. We encourage you to do the same by taking a few simple actions.

  • Go to Americans for the Arts #SaveTheNEA action page.
  • Enter your zip code.
  • Your elected representatives will appear and the pre-filled message—or, even better, your personal message—will be emailed to their offices when you hit "Send."

Your voice matters.


Michael Ritchie
Artistic Director, Center Theatre Group

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