KENNEBUNK — The Trump administration’s recently released proposed federal spending plan has crippling implications for America’s arts and humanities communities. Part of the budget proposal would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

If these national entities seem unfamiliar to you, consider a small sample of the projects they’ve funded over the years. These projects include National Public Radio, “A Prairie Home Companion,” PBS, The Sundance Institute and Film Festival; literature, arts, dance, and theater education programs in public schools, and research funding for museums, libraries and colleges.

Maine receives about $1.2 million per year from the National Endowment for the Arts. This helps support the Maine Arts Commission, arts organizations, arts programming and individual artists, writers and musicians. An additional $1.7 million per year is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help fund Maine Public’s TV and radio network. In 2016, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $1.65 million to Maine institutions through the Maine Humanities Council – about 73 percent of the council’s annual budget.

I am a student at the University of Southern Maine and a local musician. I will be graduating this spring with my bachelor’s degree in social work. The threat of this proposed budget hit home for me as an individual with potential career paths in both the arts and the humanities.

I’ve spent my senior year internship at Engine, an arts-based nonprofit working with the Biddeford community. Engine is founded on the belief that artistic expression and creative vibrancy are the gateway to cultural, social and economic revitalization. At 128 Main St. in Biddeford, Engine maintains an art gallery, community flex-space and a FabLab with 3-D printing technology where people of all ages can use sophisticated equipment to build potential product prototypes. It’s one of many organizations in Maine that rely on funding from the NEA and NEH to make their programming possible.

These programs are diverse and strive to meet a variety of needs within the Biddeford community. There are maker camps for students during their school vacation week; an upcoming collaboration where Engine will provide screenprinting classes for the Department of Corrections, and opportunities for a local artist or writer to exhibit their latest work.

As part of my internship, I’ve started a weekly guitar group at the alternative learning high school that is part of the local public school system. Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology and support staff available at Engine, I was able to train my guitar students on the software to design and print guitar picks.

During my internship, I’ve been fortunate to see first-hand how beneficial arts programming can be for the community. The expectation of community-based arts programming is not that every participant will become the next Picasso or Trey Anastasio. Rather, participating in community-based arts programming aims to inspire creative thinking and therefore creative problem solving. In theory, this would mean more well-rounded individuals better equipped to handle the complex problems facing modern society.

Out of $1.1 trillion in annual federal discretionary spending, only about $300 million goes toward these endowments – a whopping .0002 percent of the total budget. This move by the Trump administration seems to be more of a symbolic attack on our artistic, historical and educational institutions rather than a logical attempt at addressing our nation’s debt. American society simply cannot afford to take such a monumental step backward by abandoning the arts and humanities.

I ask for your help in protecting the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. How can you help? Reach out to the people who represent us in Washington – Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin – and explain what the arts and humanities mean to you. Sign a petition such as this one at change.org/p/don-t-eliminate- the-national-endowment-for-the-arts.

Don’t stop there: Organize, educate and get support from your friends, family and foes. The more voices we have, the more likely we are to be heard.