Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2011

Artists, legislators gather to discuss strategies to restore public arts funding

Arts supporters talk about moving forward despite the recent elimination of state funding for the Kansas Arts Commission.

June 16, 2011


Jessica Johnson, left, and Margaret Weisbrod Morris sign in to a Kansas Citizens for the Arts meeting at the Lawrence Arts Center Thursday, June 16, 2011. Local residents and others from around the state voiced their disappointment with Gov. Sam Brownback's line-item veto of funding for the Kansas Arts Commission. Meeting attendees also discussed ways for reestablishing support for the arts in Kansas communities.

Jessica Johnson, left, and Margaret Weisbrod Morris sign in to a Kansas Citizens for the Arts meeting at the Lawrence Arts Center Thursday, June 16, 2011. Local residents and others from around the state voiced their disappointment with Gov. Sam Brownback's line-item veto of funding for the Kansas Arts Commission. Meeting attendees also discussed ways for reestablishing support for the arts in Kansas communities.

Ellen Neufeld of Inman, left, a Kansas Arts Commissioner, and Michael Kaye of Topeka listen during a breakout session during a meeting of Kansas Citizens for the Arts Thursday, June 16, 2011, at the Lawrence Arts Center. Attendants discussed ways to reestablish the importance of art in Kansas communities despite funding cuts for the Kansas Arts Commission.

Ellen Neufeld of Inman, left, a Kansas Arts Commissioner, and Michael Kaye of Topeka listen during a breakout session during a meeting of Kansas Citizens for the Arts Thursday, June 16, 2011, at the Lawrence Arts Center. Attendants discussed ways to reestablish the importance of art in Kansas communities despite funding cuts for the Kansas Arts Commission.

Proponents for public funding of the arts in Kansas gathered in Lawrence Thursday to discuss ways to react to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s unprecedented veto of funding for the Kansas Arts Commission.

Henry Schwaller IV, a former arts commission chairman from Hays, encouraged those present to host gatherings at their homes with friends to encourage them to support public funding for the arts.

He said the arts benefited communities both culturally and economically.

Richard Renner, a Lawrence artist, said that when the news first broke, it was hard not to take it personally, and he became angry and felt like a victim. More recently, however, he said he was looking for ways to empower himself to affect change.

“Victimhood is a nice place, but I don’t want to buy property there,” he said.

Several current and former members of the arts commission attended the meeting, along with Sen. Marci Francisco and Rep. Paul Davis, both Lawrence Democrats, and Rep. Barbara Bollier, a Republican from Mission Hills.

Brownback vetoed the Legislature’s $689,000 funding of the Kansas Arts Commission last month, saying he wanted to save money and focus on core functions of government.

He also appointed a new Arts Commission chairwoman who is the leader of the private fundraising group formed by Brownback that he says will be able to fund the arts in Kansas.

Attendees of the meeting on Thursday noted that Kansas had attracted national attention for being the first state in the country to take such a move. Arts advocates have also said that the cut in funding also means that Kansas could be at risk of losing $1.2 million in federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

More than 50 people attended the meeting, which was organized by the advocacy group Kansas Citizens for the Arts. Organizers said they planned to host similar events to brainstorm strategies and organize support across the state, with the goal of restoring public funding.

“It may not happen in the next legislative session,” said Ann Evans, co-chairwoman of Kansas Citizens for the Arts. “We may need to have another election.”

Sarah Carkhuff Fizell, one of the event’s organizers, said Kansas Citizens for the Arts was exploring the potential for forming a political action committee that would financially support political candidates that supported the arts in Kansas.

Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg attended the meeting Thursday, and read a poem to the crowd.

She was affected by the governor’s decision, having previously received a $2,500 stipend, a $2,000 travel budget and staff support from the arts commission.

“I’m living in limbo, but I’m still writing poetry,” she said.


situveux1 6 years, 9 months ago

Funny they seem to have the energy to raise money to persuade public funding but didn't raise a finger to actually raise money for the "arts."

overthemoon 6 years, 9 months ago

Are you kidding? gov't funds are only a small percentage of the budget for most arts organizations. there is constant fundraising going on but there are only so many donors out there. Now the Kansas Arts Foundation is going to be competing for those same dollars that the arts organizations have courted for years.

question4u 6 years, 9 months ago

Wow! That's a weird statement situveux1. It must be strange to live on another planet and have no idea of how things operate on Earth.

blindrabbit 6 years, 9 months ago

Kansas attracts more negative press; seems like we've become kinda the Rodney Dangerfield of the States. De-funding of the Art's Commission is just part of the "Dumbing Down" trend that seems to be a "darling" aspect of the ^T-drinkers" agenda and the current Brownback Administration.

The way the rest of the country views Kansas; I've lived on both and worked Coast's and have defended Kansas proudly, but !!!!!!!

Land of Dorothy! Basketball U.! Home of Goat Gland Doctor! Emelia Earhart (no need to defend) "You're not in Kansas anymore" Flatness! Little public Access to land! Limited natural beauty (not my opinion, but that of the public)! Crazy State School Board decisions! Phred Phelps, et al.! Home of the other KKK, that is Kansas' Kris Kobach! Fly over state! Cabela's ----States' biggest tourist attraction! Territory that during the prior Statehood that gave up what was to become Denver, Boulder, Pueblo, Colorado Springs" because that land was not tillable, just mountainous wasteland. No natural lakes (except Lakeview)! Home of Kobach, Klein, Tiahrt, Abrams, Phelps, Roeder, BTK, Smilin Sam, "In Cold Blood"! Killed Knute Rockne! Spawning ground of tonadoes!

Plenty more, but I'll let it rest!

Danimal 6 years, 9 months ago

In fairness to Kansas we gave up Colorado because it was full of rowdy, disreputable, drunken gold miners and rebelious natives in the 1850's and '60s. It would've been awesome to have Denver on one end of the state and KC on the other though. But hey, now that Colorado is full of unbearable Californians I think we've done okay. Having all those cities isn't worth putting up with a few Californians.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 9 months ago

Affordable living rural or urban Love it or hate it Johnson County constantly rates in the top 10 nationally recognized counties.
Casino and NASCAR/CART race track Best Drag Strip in U.S. We have a Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop too. We build and design the planes to flyover us Top 5 water park Professional Sports We feed the states who mock us Carrie Nation and Emelia Earhart could whip any other state's famous women John Brown still craziest famous figure in U.S. History College Athletics Rich in Western History 6.6 Unemployment, State not broke like CA or IL Great public school systems Home of small city operating under group thinking they are smarter than rest of state No Racial issues Eisenhower kicked HItler's a@@ Water sport potential just being realized The Legends We have 4 Seasons Outstanding affordable under and post graduate universities Kansas is simply a fine place, mock it if you wish.

Barry Watts 6 years, 9 months ago

Not to be rude, but why did she receive a $2,500 stipend and travel expenses with tax-payer dollars? I guess I am unaware of how these Kansas state dollars are spent on the arts.

question4u 6 years, 9 months ago

According to her website, the following are some of Mirriam-Goldberg's activities as Kansas Poet Laureate. Although some of the activities, such as the workshops are supported through fees from participants or communities, travel monies make it financially viable to offer programs in some of the more remote parts of Kansas :

1) Poetry Across Kansas - Reading and Writing Our Way Home (This writing workshop, open to teens and adults, helps people discover their own best poetry, and how reading and writing poetry can add greater meaning to their lives and communities. Each workshop, tailored to community needs and interests, draws on Kansas poets for discussion, reflection, study of craft and as writing prompts.)

2) Presentation-Workshops: Presentations, which combine a talk and short writing workshop, are available on a wide variety of topics, such as: Writing from the Earth: Poetry and Sense of Place; The Care and Feeding of the Writer: Sustaining Yourself in Your Craft; Writing, Readings and Performance: Getting Your Work Out There; The Spirit of Words: Writing as Life Practice; Writing and Living Through Serious Illness; Arts-Based Workshop Facilitation; Writing Your New Story: Mythology and Poetry

2) 150 Kansas Poems to celebrate Kansas's Susquicentennial (This site features 150 poems, to be posted throughout 2011, to honor Kansas' 150th birthday. Poems are chosen by the poet laureate of Kansas, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.)

3) Special Poetry Month Activites, which include, for 2011, the Kansas Daily Poem In Your Pocket, the To the Stars Poetry Contests, and more; and for 2010, the To the Stars Poetry Contest, and the Poetry Penpal Project

4) Everyday Magic, a soulful daily blog on the writing life, and Bodies and Voices, a weekly column on writing and yoga.

5) Poet Laureati: A National Convergence of Poets Laureate; An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate

6) Write From Your Life Columns and Podcasts, including a year of High Plains Public Radio shows. (March 2010 Invoking the Visible January 2010 Writing in a New Decade December 2009 Fence Post Moment September 2009 A Love Poem to You August 2009 Writing Not the Way We Think July 2009The Life You Could Be Living (If You Weren't Living This One)

nut_case 6 years, 9 months ago

Keep an eye on Greece - We will be there in a few years. It's already starting here...our government is 14+ Trillion in the hole, and going deeper. Try go cut back on a few non-essential things and look at the uproar it causes.

On the local level, notice how the streets / highways are going to crap, school cuts/closings, talk of cutting other services? These are the first 'warning shots' ... deeper cuts to come unless things turn around. But will they? China is emerging as an economic power - and holding trillions in US debit, while the US continues to spend, spend, spend with no real though of cuts. Doesn't exactly seem like anything is turning around to me.

vuduchyld 6 years, 9 months ago

China has enough surplus to buy our debt.

And, oh, by the way, they do it while spending...or maybe a better word would be all kinds of infrastructure and education.

You don't preserve or acquire economic power by shutting down government investment. Look at Somalia or Afghanistan.

thepianoman 6 years, 9 months ago

Very good point nut_case!!! The highways, roads and bridges are falling apart...The US debt continues to soar, spending is out of control, China owns the US....But hey....We'll make sure we get the arts funded...even if it means increasing our debt, driving on roads that resemble craters.......I have nothing against art...I'm a musician myself...But people need to pull their heads out.....Good lord....Art can be and should be funded privately.....

Doug Harvey 6 years, 9 months ago

Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, etc., were convinced by Goldman Sachs to fund debt created by real estate speculators. That's why they're broke. If we made Goldman Sachs and others pay for what they did, we the people (our governments) wouldn't be broke.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

Yep, the Bush years were just like Greece -- spending like a drunken sailor while refusing to collect tax revenue ... during "good" times!

Among the "non-essential things" (like Medicare!) is tax welfare for billionaires that has failed to fulfill any promise ever made about it. Yet, you can never get Repubs to explain how the massive tax cuts never managed to create jobs, prosperity or anything else than a giant hole in our finances, turning budget surpluses into larger and larger deficits.

The tax take from our GDP hasn't been lower since 1950 and yet self-described nutcases as yourself complain about debt!!!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

My goodness gracious. Arts funding pays back the community. Art helps keep our children grounded. A great bang for the tax buck.


What's wrong with socialism is the right places? Nothing really. Socialism is alive and well hidden in the word of big business.

For example:

"David Cay Johnston then boggled the crowd with a blunt assertion: "We pay billions of dollars in taxes that never get to the government." Much of the sales tax we pay at big box stores and shopping centers is diverted to the large companies that own the stores. It's just one of the many swindles these chains have learned to perpetrate against city and county governments. (Alive and well in Lawrence,Ks as we speak.)

This is so effective that the Cabela family, which owns a chain of big-box sporting goods stores, receives 137% of its profits from taxpayer subsidies. If they couldn't work this scam, they wouldn't be in business at all."

Socialism is trendy in the world of corporate america it seems.

David Cay Johnston is not some " tree hugging liberal". This man is a registered republican. More along the lines of those repubs who would support art programs such as Eisenhower and Nancy Kassebaum = from the days of the true fiscal conservative republican much like my father in law who bolted and is now active in the democratic party.

Art helps keep our children grounded. A great bang for the tax buck. No doubt Art likely keep adults grounded as well. It's good to have our tax dollars come back to the community in this fashion.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

You are forgetting that attribution thing again, merrill. Do you get a penny every time you repeat that twit's lie about Canela's? Doing that is dumb and irresponsible !!!!

Quigly 6 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

"Canela's" = "Cabela's". Need more coffee....

rtwngr 6 years, 9 months ago

Roses are red, violets are purple, sugar is sweet, and so is maple surple. :-)

God bless fiscal conservatism!

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

Instead of sitting on their rear ends having a think tank about getting public funding re-established, why aren't these artists having a telethon, or making some phone calls to their rich friends?

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree. As a local artist, I see firsthand how local 'artists' gang up on anyone new, or should I say anyone that successfully sells their own art. The jealousy is amazing. They include you, if you give them money to buy kegs of beer (the old-guard doesn't donate anything, and they get all the choice spots at the final fridays) and when you sell a few of your prints-they get all upset and jealous because they didn't sell anything (because their art sux?) The local art regime is the only one benefiting from the arts commission. I for one, couldn't give a hoot! My art does just fine online and anywhere else. I never asked anybody to subsidize my art, even back when I first started (well, okay-my parents bought all of supplies)

there are more important things to spend taxpayer money on, like a dragstrip, for instance.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

They're doing both. I know that comes as a shock to folks like you who live in a black or white world.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

I often wonder about the same thing when the GOP pushes more and more and more tax cuts.

But only for the wealthy - look just this week at Repubs pooh-pooh-ing the idea of a payroll tax cut that would benefit the middle class by providing ...(hold your breath) The GOP can't quite see how that benefits the Koch Bros. so it's 'no go'. Better to continue to use that money to bail out their wealthy cronies.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm not familiar with this so-called middle class tax it like the last one Obama did that made it possible to eat at McDonald's once a month? That sure stimulated my economy.

Don't forget, Democrats are far richer than Republicans before you start spouting off about the GOP bailing out their wealthy cronies - more like Democrats bailing out their cronies.

Show me one of them shovel ready jobs Obama created that he laughs about today since they never happened....they sure made a nice road sign that looked like his campaign sticker with all that stimulus.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

US-69 in Johnson County says hello. There's your one job, plus a bunch of that guys friends who all got jobs too. You're a buffoon.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

"Democrats are far richer than Republicans before you start spouting off about the GOP bailing out their wealthy cronies"

Amazing how, when the topic is "wealthy cronies" GOP efforts to carry water for corporations and banks is immediately ignored. Yet, when the topic is "how great GOP economic policies create jobs" in places like Florida or Texas rather than scary Dem states like Maryland or Massachusetts, the fact that the liberal coasts sport much higher incomes and standards of living suddenly get ignored. You'd almost think Republicans were just unwilling to face reality.

"Show me one of them shovel ready jobs Obama created"

Here's a Teapartier cutting the ribbon just this week at one of those job-creating stimulus projects:

Interesting how stimulus creates no jobs ... until the GOP congressman shows up to claim credit.

Here's on GOP Senator throwing a hissy-fit over a cut spending because it would cost jobs:

Literally - the rest of the day could be spent posting identical new reports of Republicans showing you job after job created by Administration, lobby for money for pet projects because they will create jobs, etc., etc.

Pre-stimulus = 8 million jobs lost. Post-stimulus = 0 million jobs lost. A kindergartner can distinguish the difference.

Indeed, they do. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal--lamestream media at its best--report that Americans overwhelming blame Bush for the economic fiasco of 2007- and its lingering effects.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

I suppose it's worth noting that the solar industry now employs nearly 100,000 people and is expected to grow 25% over the next year. That's more than the entire U.S. steel industry.

You remind me of that Teaparty Congressman who wanted to cut the funding for the National Renewable Energy Lab until campaign donors,constituents, and state GOP officials pointed out to him how many jobs in his district came from this spending. He "didn't know" that cuts would affect his own state.

bd 6 years, 9 months ago

Get a clue people! We have children that live below the poverty level, schools being closed, people who have run out of unemployment , and you want us to fund the "ARTS"

Sorry, but there are more important issues to deal with!!!!!!

Tea anyone!

thepianoman 6 years, 9 months ago

They're Liberals...They can't get "a clue".....They're too lazy to fund arts themselves...Rely on the government and tax payers to fund their fun and games.........And no BD, I'll take a bud light with lime!!! LOL.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

That's rich!!

The very same nutcase that mocks children living below the poverty level, demands that schools be closed, and can't bother to give a fig about the unemployed the GOP created ... (get this) ... is worried about "more important issues".

What's next? We must destroy Medicare to save it?

skinny 6 years, 9 months ago

I am with bd on this one! Get a clue people! Look at all the homeless and you guys are worried about the ARTS! WOW!

Doug Harvey 6 years, 9 months ago

A rich arts community has a lot less homeless people and a lot less people in jail. Check it out.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

These comparisons are funny.

People who are in favor of education and social service funding are generally also in favor of arts funding, and those opposed to arts funding generally oppose the others as well.

Our current governor cut all of them.

I don't see somebody offering to fully fund education and social services instead of the arts.

Don Whiteley 6 years, 9 months ago

As I recall, money doesn't grow on trees yet...even in Kansas. Providing funding for education, social services, and the Arts = taxes. And now that state tax revenues are down, increasing or even keeping funding at current levels will have to equate to increased taxes for everyone.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

"will have to equate to increased taxes for everyone."

Yes, when it comes to taxes, it's everyone together. Because you can't raise taxes on wealth alone. It's like the law or something.

How about some shared sacrifice? The poor and middle class have already put up their sacrifices - what are your rich buddies planning to lay on the table???

Kontum1972 6 years, 9 months ago

so what lucky republican is painting Gov. Brownbacks portrait?

Don Whiteley 6 years, 9 months ago

Hey, let's separate funding for the Arts from funding for the Arts Commission, which seems to have a dubious track record supporting Arts in the state. Just because you oppose the Arts Commission does not, in any way, mean you oppose the Arts. Liberals LOVE to generalize.

thepianoman 6 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. As I said, I'm a musician and enjoy art and music but totally support Brownback's elimination of this agency.

somedude20 6 years, 9 months ago

Old fatcat Brownback could have let a few of his giant staff (who as we have read in previous articles have rather bloated salaries) go and bam, there is the $689,000 (what a small amount of the budget) or he could use $689,000 out of the 2012 $50 million surplus.

Point is that the arts are being cut out of school now (especially music) and now it is cut from the public domain, we are going to have generations of children grow up without being exposed to the arts and that is a sad thought (unless you are a robot)!

junco_partner 6 years, 9 months ago

You have to speak in a language that they understand if you want to get your point across. With that in mind I wrote a haiku for you.

pleae go get a job do not be a lazy slob liberal tax sponge

gkerr 6 years, 9 months ago

Andy Hyland and LJ World, Just how many articles, blogs, letters to the editor, readers letters, are you Folks going to print about this topic? Like Pravda, if the first 2 dozen harangues don't cause a stir then keep hammering away till the readers give up their desire to live free and become the mind numbed robots that you wish them to be. According to Suffolk University poll few trust Mainstream News sources because of leftward bias. This affirms poll results of many decades by other pollsters according to Paul Bedard of US News Report.

"In a stunning rejection of network news and nightly news anchors, cable news, driven by the Fox News Channel and mouthy Bill O'Reilly, is now the top most trusted source—by a mile."

See what your bias and blather have done? Bloviator and self serving populist agitator O'Riley is Trusted more than MSM sources, a sure sign that your incessant bias has already driven public mad. "In a new poll from Boston's Suffolk University, more than a quarter of the nation says Fox is tops when it comes to who they trust the most and O'Reilly is the most believable.... The key finding in the telephone poll of 1,070 likely voters is that network news is dying. Some 28 percent say that they trust Fox News the most, followed by CNN at 18 percent. After that, the trust in TV news nose dives. NBC was third, at 10 percent, MSNBC fourth at 7 percent, CBS and ABC tied at fifth with just 6 percent." Again, FOX News – 28% CNN – 18% Undecided -12% NBC – 10% Other -10% MSNBC — 7% ABC — 6% CBS — 6% C-SPAN — 3%

Why not just choose to be objective? Why not give balance to your coverage mix? Why not run some articles on why folks support the cuts? Why not be honest? Quit driving people nuts. Gkerr.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

Trust isn't about opinion. It's about facts. Who cares what a narrow group of delusional bubbleheads think?

Why would, for example, NBC or ABC be "trusted"? Turn on the average Sunday morning news program and it's Gingrich, McCain, another Republican, another Republican, another Republican, and (occasionally) a (often conservative) Democrat.

Most Americans realize that all these media "choices" are corporate owned and corporate focused entertainment services where real news rarely even gets mentioned let alone in balance to "faux" concerns. Why focus on the Congress' failure to pass a jobs bill or the functional bankruptcy of Bank of America or pervasive and unreformed mortgage fraud or the open, shameless buying of elections by Money when we can talk about Weiner's weiner, the New Black Panther Party, how Muslims are out to get us, how the most American-exceptional President in history hates American exceptionalism, and the war on Christians?

Doug Harvey 6 years, 9 months ago

Doing creative work is what people naturally do. Another word for this is ART. Some art is valuable in forms other than monetary. There are things that are important that are NOT monetary, that are, in fact, more important than monetary. Quality of life, being self-content, sharing oneself with others on a fairly deep level -- these are the kinds of things that make people happy and keep them from hurting other people. There's no price tag on that. Creating wealth happens in many ways.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

Earlier this month, Brownback graced the Symphony in the Flint Hills with his presence.

That is an event that never would have gotten off the ground without public funding, yet now six years later it is incredibly successful and the public support is dwarfed by the support from the private sector.

That is why public support for the arts is important. And that is also why "all or nothing" conservatives will never understand, because they just can't comprehend how an event can go from being primarily publicly funded to being primarily privately funded.

And they obviously hate the Symphony in the Flint Hills.

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