Joel McHale, Adam Scott, Shepard Fairey Talk Importance of Saving the Arts at P.S. ARTS Benefit

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for P.S. Arts
Joel McHale and wife Sarah Williams

“I don’t think anybody from the current administration took an art class ever. That’s why they are so quick to want to defund it,” said the night's honoree, Shepard Fairey, of the proposed NEA budget cuts at the arts benefit Friday.

Joel McHale, Shepard Fairey Mark Duplass and Adam Scott were amongst those in Hollywood who showed up to P.S. Arts' second annual party benefiting arts education in public schools where Trump's proposed NEA budget cuts was a hot topic.

Inside was a mixture of cocktails and arts activities as guests created their own jewelry and perfume. Mark Duplass was among those who had his portrait stitched on fabric in a matter of minutes by artist Michael Birch-Pierce. Balthazar Getty was the DJ for the evening as guests participated in body painting as well as sawing and sanding their own cheese boards with the Nick Offerman Woodshop.

Fairey's Yes We Can portrait design — which became popular during President Obama's campaign — were on display in celebration of Fairey as the honoree of the evening. He expressed that without the arts he probably would be in jail more often and spoke out on his opposition to Trump's proposed NEA budget cuts released in March.

“I don’t think anybody from the current administration took an art class ever," Fairey joked to the crowd. "That’s why they are so quick to want to defund it.”

Fairey told THR that introducing the arts to kids at a young age is as important for them as it is for the economy.

"Art is good therapy for people. It builds self-esteem. It creates great problem-solving skills, but even from an economic standpoint the U.S. is a major exporter of culture," Fairey said. "It’s a creative product and to neglect creativity is not only foolish in terms of people’s therapy that they get from art but economically it’s foolish as well."

Big Little Lies actor Adam Scott commented on how glad he was that, despite the proposed budget cuts, the NEA recently released a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying itsfun ding was poised to stay the same as requested, at about $150 million.

"It’s ridiculous and it’s hilarious because they had no leverage with the Republicans so they made none of the NEA or Planned Parenthood cuts," Scott told THR. "Not to say they are not going to, but the budget they turned in was 100 percent waiting for Democrats. Luckily we got by this time but next time who knows. It’s disgusting and ridiculous just like everything they are doing."

Joel McHale, a constant supporter of P.S. Arts, similarly agreed on the importance of maintaining arts funding. He told THR that access to the arts in school while he was growing up was critical for him and commented on how maintaining the arts would be maintaining a staple of American culture. 

"Arts at my public school saved me so I feel like this is the very minimum I can do is show up to these things and I support them," said McHale. "Arts always is the first thing to go when things are cut and I think that’s wrong since this entire town is built on arts and further American culture, which a lot of it is art, is one of the reasons why we are known around the world."

The Great Indoors star added, "We don’t have a population that is the size of China or India and we absolutely could afford the arts. If we look to Rome or Greece where we modeled our government arts was one of the most important things in the culture.... We invented an industry that goes around the world a million times a day. I think any arts cut is bad, especially in a country that we have the largest economy in the world."


Mark Duplass and his wife, actress Katie Aselton, make their own cheese boards with the Nick Offerman Woodshop
(Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for P.S. Arts)

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