Letters to the Editor

Essential arts

February 8, 2011


To the editor:

Art advocates from across the state have done an excellent job warning us about the potential loss in tourism dollars and arts-related jobs that Kansas would suffer if the governor’s proposal to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission were approved. I agree with their dire assessment and believe that these arguments alone should be enough to convince our legislators to put the brakes on this misguided proposal.

But there is another case to be made if we really want to understand why art is integral to our communities, state, and nation. We need to support art (at least at the current yearly rate of 29 cents per person) because art is the discipline engaged in exploring the language of stories — stories of where we have been, who we are and how we want to be remembered. This work, this research and experimentation into those qualities that make us human and humane, is essential to the growth and maintenance of a healthy democratic society. Like science, art needs public support precisely because its benefits accrue slowly, cannot be easily quantified and are absolutely necessary.

Theater, music, film, dance, poetry, painting. Artists young and old working in these media are at the forefront of shaping our shared identity. Support for the Kansas Arts Commission, which gives all of us access to this creative world, is essential because, as Topeka-born poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote in 1970, “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”


Brock Masters 7 years, 4 months ago

I think there should be rule (maybe I'll work to legislate it :)) that if you write in to oppose a cut that you offer another cut to take its place. No one wants their piece of the pie cut, but we can't afford everything. Step up and tell us what is less important than your piece and why it should be cut.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

But this was such an extremely small sliver of the pie that it doesn't come close to qualifying as a slice. We can easily afford it.

Cutting it is symbolic and ideological, not fiscally conservative.

jafs 7 years, 4 months ago

Or one could find ways to increase revenue instead.

Kookamooka 7 years, 4 months ago

Very well put. But...its too late. He killed the Kansas Arts Commission with an executive order yesterday. I hope there is a story about it in the ljworld. I get the KLWN facebook status updates. They do a great job of reporting breaking news from many sources.

Bananajoe 7 years, 4 months ago

RIP -Kansas Arts Commssion I guess we will have to do with a piece of paper and a box of crayons from now on.

christy kennedy 7 years, 4 months ago

Great letter. Sad/stupid action taken by Brownback. But not surprising, considering it's Brownback.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 4 months ago

Alright, you've forced me to do it...I didn't want to, but you leave me no option:

"...And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. " President John. F. Kennedy, DEMOCRAT.

If we lose art related jobs, or art related tourism it is because art lovers only paid lip service, when it was time to mobilize they sat on their fat butts and whined about how the 'gimmie'ment should do it. (My guess is that we'll need more comfortable chairs.)

It's time to 'put up, or shut up' art community.....art is a creative process, time to use those creative talents for raising funds!

George_Braziller 7 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if Sammy put any thought into how much cutting $600,000 actually cost the state? Not just the financial loss for matching funds, the damage he did to the reputation of the entire state is even worse.

tomatogrower 7 years, 4 months ago

No arts, no civil rights, only reading, writing, and math in the schools? What companies are going to want to relocate or start up here? But this is what Kansas voters wanted apparently. Although I still believe they didn't know what they were getting into. I'm just too sad for words.

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