The going just got a little easier for Van Go Inc. in Lawrence.
After suffering budget cuts caused by controversial layoffs at the Kansas Arts Commission, Van Go sought and secured temporary funding from the Douglas County Commission to the tune of $20,000 at Wednesday afternoon’s County Commission meeting.
The funding, which will help cover the nearly $30,000 in state funds lost, will come from the county’s 2011 budget for economic development.
Van Go, 715 N.J., known for its public arts projects and for employing at-risk teens in Douglas County, said preparing youths for the work force was a top priority.
“We’re not attempting to create artists in the community,” said executive director Lynne Green. “We’re trying to impart job skills. That’s really the key.”
Van Go has done just that since the organization began offering job training for high-needs youths in 1999. Green noted during the meeting that 85 percent of Van Go program graduates have gone on to find employment or enroll in post-secondary education.
County commissioners voted unanimously to approve the $20,000 request, saying the program was deserving of the funding in a particularly difficult year for arts programs in the state.
“Certainly this is a tough year with funds being taken away, and I feel we’re in a good position to be helpful right now,” Commissioner Nancy Thellman said.
Van Go is continuing to seek new sources of funding, according to Green, who said only about 20 percent of the program’s funding came from donations and fundraisers.
“We’re a grassroots organization,” she said. “We’re under no umbrella.”
Commissioner Jim Flory suggested possible future funding for Van Go be included in the regular county budget process.