Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Arts supporters protest Brownback’s elimination of Arts Commission

KT Walsh of the Percolator art collective of Lawrence talks about why she thinks the Kansas Arts Commission should not be eliminated.

February 10, 2011, 2:22 p.m. Updated February 10, 2011, 2:44 p.m.


KT Walsh of the Percolator art collective in Lawrence on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 displays her "John Brown" puppet during rally protesting elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission.

KT Walsh of the Percolator art collective in Lawrence on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 displays her "John Brown" puppet during rally protesting elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission.

Laura Ramberg of Lawrence waves the "Kansas Muse" on Thursday, Feb. 10 during a rally across the street from the Capitol to protest Gov. Sam Brownback&squot;s order to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission.

Laura Ramberg of Lawrence waves the "Kansas Muse" on Thursday, Feb. 10 during a rally across the street from the Capitol to protest Gov. Sam Brownback's order to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission.

— Waving puppets and signs, about 200 people on Thursday rallied outside the Capitol to protest a proposal by Gov. Sam Brownback to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission.

"I believe the arts are an integral part of everyone's heritage," said Laura Ramberg, of Lawrence, who held a large puppet of the "Kansas Muse."

Brownback has issued an executive order to abolish the Arts Commission, saying it will save about $600,000 in the next fiscal year. The state faces an estimated $492 million revenue shortfall, and Brownback says he wants to "protect the core functions of government."

Supporters of the Arts Commission said the cut will also mean the loss of an additional $1.2 million in federal funding, and hurt dozens of local communities and projects that receive funding.

Brownback has said the private sector will step up to the plate. He has appointed a non-profit arts foundation to raise funds. "There will be more money for arts, rather than less," he said.

But those at the rally didn't buy that.

Shannon Riley of the Topeka Civic Theater said, "If only the private sector supports the arts, only the private sector will have access to the arts."

And Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission, referred to relying solely on private support, saying, "We know how difficult and unsuccessful that will be."

State Sen. Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan, urged ralliers to contact their legislators. Brownback's plan can be stopped by either the House or Senate.

"We are better than this, to let this go away," said Reitz. State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, also attended the rally.


Brad Greenwood 7 years ago

Art? Education? Checks and balances in the Kansas Government? That's not the Brownback way!

somedude20 7 years ago

I wonder if old Laura has given birth to Copper? I am not a detective but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express

lawslady 7 years ago

If you make the Arts Commission private, in order to survive and continue helping promote the arts in this state, it will have to compete for funding (from private or public sources) with the very entities that they have (in the past) been able to help.

If the Governor and Law makers want to cut out some costs, why don't they stop spending tax dollars to write up, have published, distribute, and debate "do nothing" measures like the ones listed below (to name just a few) that cost an estimated minimum $5000 per bill? With the money they spend on bills like this (designed to please a few constituents or pay off a campaign contributor) they would be able to actually help Kansas stop its slide into being last in all more categories that normally mark a civilized society. But they want everyone ELSE to tighten their belts....

Senate Resolution 1807 – Resolution urging the country of Turkey to uphold and safeguard religious and human rights without compromise.

HR 6008 – Resolution opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory trainwreck. See also HR 5009 – does the exact same thing.

HB 2099 – Creating the Kansas goat council (note: representative who introduced this says it was done as a favor for a constituent

SCR 1601- A Concurrent Resolution rescinding the 1978 legislature’s petition to US Congress calling for a amendments to the US Constitution

SR 1804 – Congratulating and commending Tad Felts for being inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

SR 1805 – Congratulating and commending the members of the 2011 Kansas Teacher of the Year Team

SR 1806 - Recognizing January 21, 2011 as Dentist Appreciation Day

SR 1808 – Congratulating and commending Senator Janis Lee

HB 2132 – Providing for issuance of personalized “gold star family plates” for vehicles

HB 2129 – The health care freedom act, giving citizens the right to purchase health insurance or to refuse to purchase it.

HB 2146 – Naming the peridot as the official state gemstone.

HB 2063- Designating a state fossil

Ralph Reed 7 years ago

Minimum of $60,000 you have there.

lawslady 7 years ago

I know. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Go to and start reading the bills being proposed this year. Or the duplication - for example SB 66 & HB 2128 – Each prohibits any candidate from office from appearing in a public service announcement or advertisement within 60 days of an election. $1000 fine. See also same provision, in HB 2128 – only the fine is for $2000. Two bills – one from Senate and one from House – with exactly the same proposal - just a different $ amount for the fine.

By my personal count, the amount of tax $ that is being wasted (so far) this year on such "do nothing" bills is up to $230,000, and going up each day they are allowed to introduce more bills. And that doesn't count the $ that is (or will be) spent to re-do (staff time to write/amend, publishing costs, and distribution of all the hundreds of copies) of a bill anytime an amendment is made to it. In this day and age of electronic documents, it really is amazing that the Legislators still are publishing even their own internal rules (like who is appointed to what committees each year) in bill form - requiring that $5000 each time. Not that you'll ever get any one of them to admit to that cost. Or suggest a way to cut back/down/out the "do-nothing" efforts (especially in a fiscally tight time, like now).

overthemoon 7 years ago

I'm still sayin' that we need to know who these people are who were appointed to the board without consultation (it appears) from anyone representing the arts programs in Kansas. Scott!!! Little help here??

Lee Saylor 7 years ago


The Kansas Arts Foundation’s Board of Directors are: • Bruce Breckenridge, Leawood • Paula Downing, Wichita • Kerry Livgren, Berryton • Virginia Crossland-Macha, Iola • Priscilla O’Shaughnessy, Wichita • Bob Swain, Topeka • Sue Schlapp, Wichita • Linda Browning Weis, Manhattan • Chris Burger, Lawrence, Legal Counsel

overthemoon 7 years ago

Thanks Lee...Seems a lot of news sources had this basic info. Except the LJW....

Quick check through the names...most all are campaign contributors, all conservative, only a couple are active in the arts. As board members, they'll need to raise money, but I would guess they'd also be deciding on who gets grants.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

"Brownback has said the private sector will step up to the plate. He has appointed a non-profit arts foundation to raise funds. "There will be more money for arts, rather than less," he said."

Is this political rhetoric? Where is the hard evidence?

How does he know this?

How would the money be distributed?

booyalab 7 years ago

He isn't responsible for making sure the arts have money. He's responsible for balancing the budget. He said that as a PR tactic.

jafs 7 years ago

So he lied?


Remember his promise to protect education and social service funding while campaigning? He broke that one immediately.

jafs 7 years ago

If the governor claims there will be more funding for the arts, it's up to him to substantiate that claim.

booyalab 7 years ago

Shannon Riley of the Topeka Civic Theater said, "If only the private sector supports the arts, only the private sector will have access to the arts."

This statement makes no sense. Who are these individuals who have never encountered anything with style or design? Naked mole rats? I'm pretty sure they don't know about the public sector, much less the private sector.

I have unfettered access to all kinds of art. Architecture, landscapes, everything that furnishes my home and my family/friends' home, store window displays, random music. And that's just the strictly free or incidental art. It's also pretty cheap to view art online or in books or movies. Homeless people might not be able to afford those, but they can look at the design of lots of things for free. Although I doubt they care about it. Art appreciation is a luxury.

Scott Morgan 7 years ago

Shannon Riley of the Topeka Civic Theater said, "If only the private sector supports the arts, only the private sector will have access to the arts."

I think many welfare art supporters believe strongly like gun rights folks.

Only way you going to take my art away is when you pry the Monet copy from my cold dead hand.

Like all nations trying creeping socialism, citizens begin to confuse rights with privileges. Aint that right Sven from Sweden?

angel4dennis 7 years ago

Another government way to make this world an uglier reality. I would hope that the Arts would not get cut. Instead, let's cut some of the pay from the entire government body from the President down. Politics seems to be a money scam to me. If a real politician cared about the budget and shortfalls, they would not spend thousands of dollars on trying to get elected. There are charities that could use that money. I don't understand if we make the money (coins and dollars) why are we broke? It's just ridiculous!

jafs 7 years ago


Except that they spend much more than thousands on campaigns.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

is this the same Kerry Livgren, Berryton who played guitar for the band..KANSAS?

jafs 7 years ago

A perfect example of the tendency for a majority to dismiss and ridicule a minority.

That may be why our system has checks and balances designed to avoid abuse by the majority.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

wasnt some of the lottery money suppose to go for the "arts".....along with the other lies they sold us to bring it online?

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Meanwhile, the Governor included $5 million in his budget to subsidize the airport in Wichita.

Independent studies show for every dollar invested in the arts, there is $20 in economic development.

Meanwhile, an independent study from this week show that for every dollar given to the Wichita airport, there is $2.32 in economic development.

So explain again why to cut funding for the Arts but continue handing $5 million a year to the Wichita Airport? Is $5 million to the Wichita airport a core function of government?

Hypocrisy. Conservative Republicans are desperate to eliminate a program that pays for itself 20 times over while continue to fund a program that produces 1/10th of the benefit.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Even those who call it into question pale in comparison to economic activity generated by the Arts Commission.

Those who call the study into question say the economic benefit is $5.25 for every dollar.

That still pales to the $20 for every dollar spent by the Arts Commission.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Arts and Economic Prosperity

Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. The study is the most comprehensive study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted. It documents the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in 156 communities and regions (116 cities and counties, 35 multicounty regions, and five states), and represents all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The $166.2 billion in total economic activity has a significant national impact, generating the following:

*  $5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs
*  $104.2 billion in household income
*  $7.9 billion in local government tax revenues
*  $9.1 billion in state government tax revenues
*  $12.6 billion in federal income tax revenues
  1. Economic Impact :

  2. Information and Services:


bretherite 7 years ago

Will some one please admit the truth? The man is an idiot.

voevoda 7 years ago

Brownback's agenda isn't fiscal; it's political. He takes money away from groups that are purported to be "liberal"--the arts, public education, state employees, etc.--in order to cater to his radical-right backers. There is very little money to be saved for the state this way, and it undermines the financial stability of the people employed in those sectors. These are people who already earn modest salaries and work long hours. If Brownback really was interested in balancing the state budget in a way that protects ordinary Kansans, he'd raise the state income tax rate by 7.5% on individuals earning more than half a million dollars a year. My guess is that the money from the Koch brothers alone would make up for the deficit, and it wouldn't affect their standard of living one bit.

Soapbox 7 years ago

Times are tough, try eating art. Wine sipping whiners!

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

But gosh darnit, keep throwing $5 million a year at the Wichita airport!

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Not as much as the Arts Commission.

voevoda 7 years ago

Times are tough, Soapbox? Try eating airports. Try eating highways.
So you see, the same rationale applies to all state expenditures, except, maybe, farm subsidies. It's not a convincing line of argumentation. rockchalk1977, Obama didn't "drive the car into the ditch." Bush did. Bush is the one who removed the checks and balances on the financial system, leading to its meltdown. Bush is the one who turned Federal government surpluses into deficits. If the Kansas government is hurting for money now, the blame goes to the Republicans, not the Obama administration.
While the Kansas state government is facing financial difficulties, there are a significant number of Kansans (e.g. the Koch brothers) who aren't hurting at all for money. They haven't stepped forward to volunteer to pay for any of the services that are being cut. They haven't told the governor that they'd accept a modest increase on taxes for the top one percent income bracket.
If you're one of those people who is hurting financially, rockchalk1977, you should be in favor of the state raising money from among those people who have lots to spare.
If you're not one of those people who is hurting finanically, rockchalk 1977, then you have no reason to be so ungenerous in your opinion of state funding for the arts.

Terry Jacobsen 7 years ago

i support the arts, and I support the balancing of the states budget. No body wants their area of interest to be cut from the states budget, but cuts are necessary if the budget is to be balanced. I will support the arts in everyway that I can, but I also support whatever it takes to balance the budget.

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