Actor Charlton Heston has told the White House that the proposed recision in current funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is "unwise."
"I think it wasn't adequatley examined before [being] proposed," said Heston, reached by phone yesterday in British Columbia, Canada, where he is working on a movie. "I have been in discussions with people at the White House. I have stated my opinion that I think it unwise, and there has been some discusion and reexamination [of the proposal]."
The Office of Management and Budget is expected to recommend that the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities each take a cut of $15 million in outlays for fiscal year 1981. Heston, recently appointed to one of the chairs of a new White House task force to study the NEA and the NEH, said he discussed this with Frank Hodsoll, deptuy to White House Chief of Staff James Baker, among others whom he would not name. "Not the president," Heston added.
"They certainly will be reconsidered," he said of the proposed recisions, although he would not predict they would be dropped entirely. "Obviously I'm pleased to find they're listening to me carefully," he said of the White House. "But they're also listening carefully to OMB. It's hard to say what will happen."
The probability of recision, he said has already frightened many arts organizations depending on imminent funds from the NEA. "There are arts groups already expending these funds," said Heston. "Once they get word from NEA that money is coming, they start committing it. Plans have been made. Halls have been rented. Electric typewriters have been obtained. But we're not talking about children crying in the streets. Let's keep this in perspective."