Archive for Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Statehouse Live: Kansas alone in defunding the arts, national group says

October 5, 2011, 9:33 a.m. Updated October 5, 2011, 5:27 p.m.


Van Go Jams artist Trianna Elliott, 17, touches up the paint on a container she designed as work ensues Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, at Van Go Inc., 715 N.J. According to a report released by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Kansas is the only state to defund its arts commission. Van Go is one of several local arts organizations that previously received some funding from the Kansas Arts Commission. At right is Emily Moreland, 17.

Van Go Jams artist Trianna Elliott, 17, touches up the paint on a container she designed as work ensues Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, at Van Go Inc., 715 N.J. According to a report released by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Kansas is the only state to defund its arts commission. Van Go is one of several local arts organizations that previously received some funding from the Kansas Arts Commission. At right is Emily Moreland, 17.

— A national arts organization on Wednesday said that despite budget problems across the United States, Kansas was the only state to eliminate state funding of the arts.

“Like most areas of state spending, public appropriations to the arts have seen periods of growth and decline tied to state budget conditions. However, no state other than Kansas has responded to a recession by eliminating all public funding for its state arts agency,” according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

The group represents 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies in the country and submitted its written testimony to the House-Senate Committee on Arts and Cultural Resources.

The group also argued in favor of public funding of the arts, saying it helped promote a desirable quality of life, created jobs and encouraged artists and arts organizations to serve the public.

“Using public dollars to finance the work of a state arts agency also avoids the significant drawback of the state putting itself in competition with constituents for private contributions,” the group said.

Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed all state funding — $689,000 — to the arts for the current fiscal year above the protests of many legislators and arts organizations statewide. Brownback said funding of the arts was not a core function of state government and said the state dollars could be replaced by private fundraising. The veto also cost the state $1.2 million in matching funds.

Four months after Brownback’s veto, numerous arts programs and events have been cut back, the Kansas Arts Commission is down to $5,000 and the ability to leverage federal funds is nowhere in sight.

But Brownback’s appointees to the Kansas Arts Commission, which still exists in state statute despite the veto, and the leader of the Kansas Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization to raise funds privately for the arts, defended the new system.

“We are building a strong foundation on which the arts of the state of Kansas may depend for future generations,” said Linda Browning Weis, who is both chairwoman of the Arts Commission and president of the Kansas Arts Foundation.

Weis said the Arts Foundation last month received nonprofit status, which should boost private donations.

Kathy Herzog, vice chair of the Arts Commission, said the commission has about $5,000 left in its account. And although it has no staff, she said the commission is working tirelessly to put in place a plan to provide funding for arts projects.

Weis and Herzog on Wednesday gave an update to the Arts and Cultural Resources panel.

But some legislators voiced concerns and expressed skepticism.

Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, said events across the state have been cut back because of the loss of state funding and matching federal dollars.

“It’s statewide, and that is one of the reasons why people are so concerned that there is no funding for these community efforts,” Schodorf said.

The Mid-America Arts Alliance confirmed that many organizations were struggling.

“Kansas arts and culture agencies from Overland Park to Goodland, from Ark City to Bonner Springs, to your hometowns of Clay Center, Lawrence, Lenexa, Manhattan, Olathe, Thayer and Wichita, will not have the same access to the arts and arts education opportunities they’ve had in the past,” said Mary Kennedy McCabe, executive director of the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

“And without operating grants from the Kansas Arts Commission, a significant number of these organizations may be forced to close, even if they are fortunate enough to secure scarce private funds for an exhibition, performance or school outreach program,” she said.

Rep. Vern Swanson, R-Clay Center, said he was concerned about the current structure of the Arts Commission and Arts Foundation since several people served on both boards.

But Weis said, “There is no connection.” She said there will be no discussion of Arts Commission business with the Arts Foundation. The foundation will provide privately raised funding and the commission will determine what groups get funding, she said.

A group called Kansas Citizens for the Arts has formed, urging legislators to restore funding to the Arts Commission in the next legislative session.

Sarah Fizell, executive administrator for the group, said she hoped a solution to the funding cut can be reached “that arts advocates as well as public and private funders can stand behind.”


guess_again 6 years ago

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

woodscolt 6 years ago

Perfect "fall in line" knee jerk response. No explanation supporting your knee jerk comment. How about backing it up with some facts? Right, I know, you aren't interested in facts, just making knee jerk comments. Seems to be the trend.

chootspa 6 years ago

There's an entire article up there. You might want to read it and then get back to us on why people would want to sarcastically use Bush's comment to his incompetent crony's job at cleaning up after a disaster.

woodscolt 6 years ago

Read the article, you make no sense.

guess_again 6 years ago

@ Woodscolt: Res ipsa loquitur, baby.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

Brownie does not know about the arts; a drive through of his hometown of Parker will prove that there was no prior exposure. Maybe during his upcoming junket to Russia and Kazakhstan he might be able to see that even the Russkies have a high regard, not so sure about the Stans. Some of his lack of appreciation is probably the result of the belief that art will not be needed when the second-coming and "The Rapture" occurs; heard the walls of his "C-Street Jesus Cave" was filled with a worship of "the divine".

overthemoon 6 years ago

Right. Try to develop a Marinski or Kirov Ballet on private funding. Best companies in the world, supported by those 'commies'. There are extensive 'underground' arts organizations in Russia, but they are built on a tradition of valuing and funding the arts. (yes, there is/was suppression and censoring. i'm not saying we should adopt a Russian model, I'm just saying the state supported arts have enriched the world for millenia.)

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years ago

Governer Glory-Hal-Lay-Lou-Ya remembers the Munich Arts Festval of the 1930's in Germany. Hitler arranged for this litlle display and selected all the "art" personally himself. He also stated that all the "non-conforming" and "unacceptable" persons posing as artists should not be seen in the sanitized Third Reich exposition. Seems like Gov GHLLY has studied this method and decided that the people of Kansas would be well-served by his facist leanings.

Fossick 6 years ago

Godwin's Law, FTW.

Hitler was himself an artist.

jafs 6 years ago


When liberals are in a minority, they should be quiet or leave, but when our state is a minority of one, it's somehow still in the right.

jafs 6 years ago

Nice way to miss the point!

pace 6 years ago

Brownback is doing the same to education and to environmental regulations. Pretty soon we will see deregulated hog farms in urban areas.

overthemoon 6 years ago

funny how those who will say 'elections have consequences' are able to ignore that fact when the 'other' party wins the election.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

rock: To imply Kansas is a trailblazer in anything is a fantasy of your imagination.

somedude20 6 years ago

The fool will always be the fool but the people who expect the fool to change are just plain stupid! Kansans knew what kind of product they were buying when the elected that functional idiot. He is going to do what he wants to do and I bet that most of the people in this state will re-elect him (I sure did not vote for him). Hope that Brownback is like a virus that lasts for a bit then goes away but I have a feeling that most of the people in this state will not let that happen......You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

question4u 6 years ago

Hmm, all that it takes to be a "trailblazer" is to do something so stupid that no one else has done it before?

OK, but by what bizarre stretch of logic does it follow that "other states will soon follow"? Which states are so deficient in math skills that their leaders would think that eliminating $700,000 (or .005 of the total budget) would be worth losing $1.2 million in matching funds, jobs that were supported by those funds, and programs, especially in rural areas, that add to the quality of life in a state. Which states have leaders who are too dumb to recognize a losing proposition when it's that blatant?

MarcoPogo 6 years ago

Not everything can be "Where's Waldo?" and why would you want it to be?

chootspa 6 years ago

He's already shown he's willing to give other people's money to the arts. We're just asking him to give more.

overthemoon 6 years ago

And after that donation, the commission (or the foundation, can't figure out which is which) has $5000 on hand???

Paul R Getto 6 years ago

Anyone who thinks the Gov's actions are related to art is mistaken. This is ideology, nothing more, nothing less.

overthemoon 6 years ago

I guess I can understand how very tiny minds could come to that conclusion.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

If the people of Kansas disagree with the governor they will fire him. If not, could this be another example where elements of Lawrence are out of whack with the rest of the state.

Fossick 6 years ago

"I just wonder why the Reps didn't override his veto."

Because it takes overrides in both houses. If I recall correctly the House did not include this funding, while the Senate did. It was added to the conference committee budget so that budget could pass the Senate, but everyone knew that Brownback was going to veto it, and everyone knew that the House would not override.

In other words, the Reps in the Senate were just going through the motions. They may have wanted the funding, but they knew day 1 they were not going to get it. Act II, Public Radio, is up next year. It will play out exactly the same. In fact, LJW can probably just save this story, because the same people will give the same quotes.

That said, George is correct that if people don't like it, well, that's why we have elections. I'm willing to bet dimes to dollars 95% of people won't even notice.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

No, I think it petty. But the governor has the right to do it by virtue of being the governor. Elections have consequences.

Why would a Republican legislature override an action by their governor???

George Lippencott 6 years ago

OK but that is not how I view politics.

Getaroom 6 years ago

Like any other Governor he can eventually be fired, but not until new elections are held and in the mean time all that voters who are opposed to his corporate take over of Kansas government can do is hope to reverse his legislative actions. Could it be that you George are out of step with national voter thought? Those scales you have to the left of your responses George are supposed to represent balance - right? Can you tell us where you see balance represented in the economics of society currently? Of course not - because there is none.

George Lippencott 6 years ago

Apparently I am a massive failure at posting because I find the current economic situation totally unsatisfactory. I blame both political parties for feathering their own nests. I blame a portion of the electorate for falling for "sound bites" rather than doing the hard work of finding a program that a substantial number of us will support.

Taking from me to give to you obviously has a 50% approval rating. Perhaps we can do better??

Sally Piller 6 years ago

The point of the article demonstrates that Kansas, being the ONLY state to defund the arts, is out of whack with the rest of the country! There is nothing good about this action by Footwasher Sam. Even his own party disagrees with it. The damage it is doing cannot just be undone by another election. My hope is that Rick Perry, Sam's hero, is making such a fool of himself in the presidential race spotlight that our own state will realize what a fool we elected as governor.

begin60 6 years ago

Kansas is a nightmare. I guess somebody would really need to be a people person to enjoy the company of the yahoos that populate that state.

Bob Forer 6 years ago

Sandy Praeger, if you're listening, please run for governor next election cycle. I am sure there are a lot of independents and democrats who would gladly work on your campaign, contribute money, and otherwise support your candidacy. I know I would. Add those folks to the reasonable and moderate republicans, and you'd have a fighting chance to unseat Brownback.

jafs 6 years ago


You advocate for a punitive parental government?

Kim Murphree 6 years ago

What a thing to be noted for across the nation. So much for independent films and music and art and history that bring tourists to our state. And you know, with KKKobach and his move to make sure fewer minorities vote, this administration is doing all it can to ensure Brownback has a return engagement---that's what bothers me the most---he's obviously awful for the state...and yet, there are people who will still vote Republican because they just won't do anything else; entrenchment. What a shame, what a shame, and what a travesty for this wonderful state. Take courage people...find a better candidate and FIRE this guy and his alcoholic cronies.

Fossick 6 years ago

"The [National Assembly of State Arts Agencies] represents 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies in the country and submitted its written testimony to the House-Senate Committee on Arts and Cultural Resources."

I did find it rather funny that a corporation which lives off dues paid by state arts agencies, and which provides the service of lobbying the federal government for money on their behalf, is called a "national arts organization." It's a taxpayer-supported lobbying firm.

Fossick 6 years ago

Actually, if you read consumer1, you would see that the $345m is total state art revenue. NASAA doesn't 'control' that and it doesn't even control the 13.8% of that which is the NEA funding it lobbies for. I suspect it 'controls' nothing at all but a few fat salaries of people who make a living on 'art' without producing any.

But why should the size of the company change anything? My point is that the impact of the story would read far differently if it began:

Topeka - A firm that lobbies on behalf of state governments for increased federal spending on the arts said on Wednesday that despite budget problems across the United States, Kansas was the only state to eliminate state funding of the arts.

Which is why, even though it's closer to the truth, the story doesn't begin that way.

dwendel 6 years ago

Those are good questions, and I think you could easily look up how much of the KAC arts funding went to all those highly-paid arts administrators of which you speak. Or you could just make stuff up. It's sort of a free country, after all..

WilburNether 6 years ago

Oooh, listen to the little piggies who feed at the public trough whine when the flow of taxpayer dollars to pay for their recreation and entertainment is cut off!


dwendel 6 years ago

Nice try, oh most uninformed one. The vast majority of the flow was actually for education programming for school children in rural and impoverished areas of the state. The KAC was very well run and efficient -- a small percentage to bureaucratic needs.

Now normally in this situation I'd argue that someone paid for your educational opportunities, now it's your turn. But I guess you never got an education, so I can see why you don't put much value in it.

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