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.”


dwendel 2 years, 6 months 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.


WilburNether 2 years, 6 months 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!



consumer1 2 years, 6 months ago

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 1 Sources of State Arts Agency Revenue Fiscal Year 2011 Legislative Appropriations 73.2% Line Item Appropriations 5.5% Other State Funds 6.1% NEA Funds 13.8% Private & Misc. Funds 1.4%

State arts agencies will manage more than $345 million in fiscal year 2011.

How much of this is buracratically controlled and how much makes it to the indiviual states? then how much actuallly makes it to the arts???? My guess is not much. There are allot of high salaries to pay for administrative svcs, both federally and state as well as locally.


Fossick 2 years, 6 months 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.


Kim Murphree 2 years, 6 months 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.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 6 months ago

I took my kid's crayons away and he fussed like a baby until I spanked him and told him to get to work cleaning his bedroom. When he was done, I gave him his crayons back. He has kept his room clean since. Amazing.


Bob Forer 2 years, 6 months 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.


bobberboy 2 years, 6 months ago

Gov. Brownback - you think you are the second coming but you are just a clown - and not a funny clown ! You should be tared and run out on a rail !


begin60 2 years, 6 months 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.


George Lippencott 2 years, 6 months 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.


Paul R Getto 2 years, 6 months ago

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


2 years, 6 months ago

On another note does somebody have a "valid" link to how much money is in the Kansas Arts Foundation coffers? Last I heard it was somewhere around $250K.

Given that "The Kansas Arts Foundation" is a private organization and it's finances are not subject to public scrutiny (smooth move by The Gov), I can't help but think of this bit of a conversation when trying to find out about the KAF's finances (sounds like I'm hacking up a hairball) ((hmmm... hack ... goes with political ... The Gov perhaps???)):

"[Arthur Dent] Oh, yes, of course. As soon as I heard, I went straight round to see them. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call much attention to them, have you? Like telling anybody, or anything?

[Construction Supervisor] But the plans were on display!

[Arthur Dent] On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar!

[Construction Supervisor] That's the display department!

[Arthur Dent] With a torch!

[Construction Supervisor] The lights are probably out.

[Arthur Dent] So had the stairs!

[Construction Supervisor] But you did see the notice, didn't you?

[Arthur Dent] Oh, yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying, "Beware of the leopard!" Ever thought of going into advertising?

I really hope I don't need to explain the reference.


autie 2 years, 6 months ago

I'll take that as a "no, I don't have an answer for the question". One side of this question has facts and figures (dollar amounts, number of jobs lost,); the rockchalk faction....nothing but rightist platitudes.


autie 2 years, 6 months ago

Redirection and deflection of question4u's question is not relevant. Sam giving away money that was not his to begin with means NOTHING as it has no $1.2 million match coming with it. Which states have leaders whoe are too dumb to recognize a losing p;roposition when it's that blatant? rockchalk1977? Rick Perry? Maybe. Name another one.


rockchalk1977 2 years, 6 months ago

I need to remind you government supported art lovers that Gov. Brownback donated unspent inauguration funds to Kansas Arts Foundation. How about putting your money where your mouth is.

If most art was commercially viable this would not be an issue at all.


question4u 2 years, 6 months 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?


autie 2 years, 6 months ago

Trailblazing to yesteryear...rabbit. Trailblazing to yesteryear.


somedude20 2 years, 6 months 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.


blindrabbit 2 years, 6 months ago

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


rockchalk1977 2 years, 6 months ago

Obviously we are trail blazers in this area and other states will soon follow. Keep up the good work Gov. Sam. "Elections have consequences"... Barack Hussein Obama II.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 6 months 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.


blindrabbit 2 years, 6 months 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".


guess_again 2 years, 6 months ago

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


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