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Chattanooga Symphony & Opera may be affected by President's new budget

The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera performs sensory friendly concerts for children across the Chattanooga area. Image: Siskin's Children's Hospital

The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera doesn't just perform for concert goers; they organize special performances for children all year long made possible by the National Endowent for the Arts.

"It also helps fund our sensory friendly concerts" said Samantha Teter, CSO Executive Director. "Where we work with people with autism, down syndrome, and other brain disabilities."

She said funding from the NEA go toward their different education programs, serving students all over our area. If President Trump eliminated the NEA, the Chattanooga organization fears those programs would be affected.

"I know personally my ensemble goes into at least 30 schools a year," said CSO performer Taylor Brown. "We perform for thousands of students, and that costs money."

Brown says he would be disappointed to see cuts to the NEA because he wants the same opportunities given to him as a child to be offered to today's students.

"I'm lucky that it was given to me publicly and for free," said Brown. "So that I could get exposed to something that was not in my family. Now I do it for a living."

CSO says their programs serve over 70 schools in our area. Among the CSO, Chattanooga State's Big read event also gets money from the NEA. Statewide, the Tennessee Arts Council received nearly $800,000 last year. The NEA gave Nashville's Country Music Hall of fame $25,000, and the City of Cleveland received $25,000 in 2016.

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