Rebellion has been in the air since Donald trump won the presidency. But it turned into thick fog in the Arts community when he proposed eliminating the NEA saying, in effect, that it was a waste of money - (0.004% of the national budget to be exact). Melania Trump’s security detail when she stays in New York while her husband is in the White House is said to cost more.

Fact-based but untrue

Trump got uncharacteristically specific about why he wanted to stop funding the arts: “We have not seen one single NEA-backed project come close to justifying its cost since the Swedish-American sculptor debuted his Pop Art masterpiece in 1970, challenging the way we grapple with questions of industrialization and decay.” Does anyone really believe that this president thought all that up by himself?

Does anyone think it's even a little bit familiar with Claes Oldenburg’s “Giant Three-Way Plug”?

Arbiter of taste-in-chief?

Trump has also been quoted saying that federal funds shouldn’t be helping arts groups like Geoffrey Ballet’s “The Rite Of Spring and the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Yeah – as if he know that ballet and Shakespeare. He (or more likely some knowing staffer, also said that PBS’s Evening at Pops, which ended a dozen years ago, was the last good thing that came out of the NEA. The ruling arbiter of taste has spoken.

Hail, Caesar!

Artists have been battling back the only way they know how – through their work. A recent effort, a stage production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in Central Park, cast a Trump lookalike as the assassinated Roman dictator of 44 B.C.

Such casting is a stretch. The only commonality between Julius and Donald is their take-charge ways. The Roman general was a learned man who wrote books on the Gallic wars said to be a literary masterpiece. Clearly, when you’re as desperate as those in the arts community, you go to great lengths.

Building rebellion brick by brick

Also part of the arts pushback is a stage production called “Art Rising” performed on the president’s birthday in the public gardens of Trump Tower, a 15,000 square foot space required by the city for Trump to add an extra 20 stories to his building. In one performance titled “Brick x Brick,” artists donned stone-patterned jumpsuits to, as the event curator Caterina Bartha put it, “call to people across the country to fight to save the arts from Trump’s axe.”

False issue

But artists aren’t the only ones upset with the president’s sneer at what they do.

Jimmy Van Bramer, majority leader of the City Council and chairman of New York’s cultural affairs committee, made clear that “Art Rising” was more than entertainment; “Today in the act of resistance, we take back what is rightfully ours, the public space inside Trump Tower, and use the power of art to protest this administration.” Even if you don’t care a fig about the arts, the dent that funding it puts in the federal budget is too negligible to argue over.