Archive for Monday, October 10, 2011

Another funding deadline looms for Kansas arts officials

October 10, 2011


TOPEKA — The clock is ticking toward another crucial deadline for the Kansas Arts Commission, which already lost a year’s worth of federal matching dollars — approximately $1.2 million — because of Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of state funding.

The National Endowment for the Arts has given the Kansas Arts Commission an extended deadline — Oct. 31 — to submit a partnership proposal to be eligible for federal funding in the next fiscal year, according to arts officials.

But the chances of the Arts Commission writing a detailed and comprehensive plan by that deadline is slim, said Mary Kennedy McCabe, executive director of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, a regional arts organization that serves as a conduit of federal arts dollars.

“The Kansas Arts Commission is currently without paid staff and without a budget,” McCabe said. “To rely solely on the time and energy of volunteers, who may never have written a highly rigorous federal grant application, would be certain failure,” she said.

In May, Brownback vetoed the Kansas Arts Commission budget of $689,000, making Kansas the only state to defund the arts. Above the protest of many in the Legislature and arts organizations across the state, Brownback said arts funding wasn’t a core function of state government, private dollars would make up for the loss of state funds, and the governor indicated that Kansas would still be eligible for federal dollars.

But the National Endowment for the Arts declined to recognize the Arts Commission for federal matching funds this fiscal year because the commission did not have a plan, staff, budget or grant-making strategies in place, McCabe said.

If the lack of federal funding continues for a second year, McCabe said, that would worsen the cultural situation for Kansas.

But in appearances last week before a legislative committee, new leaders of the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Arts Foundation, which is a nonprofit fundraiser, said they were optimistic.

“From a programmatic standpoint, the KAC intends to think outside the box to develop new and innovative ways to promote the arts in Kansas” said Kathy Herzog, vice chair of the Kansas Arts Commission. As far as working with the National Endowment for the Arts, Herzog said there was “nothing new to report at this time.”

Linda Browning Weis, who is chair of the Arts Commission and president of the Arts Foundation, said the foundation has accomplished many goals, including getting its nonprofit status approved by the Internal Revenue Service.

The foundation also is nearing completion of a “responsible gift policy” and development of a new website.

“Great accomplishments take time,” she said. “We will do this right, well, and in a spirit of harmony,” she said.


question4u 6 years, 8 months ago

“'Great accomplishments take time,' she said. 'We will do this right, well, and in a spirit of harmony,” she said."

"Blah, blah, blah," she said as 1.2 million dollars disappeared. "Blah, blah, blah," she will say as the next 1.2 million dollars passes Kansas by.

"Great job!," Flim-Flam Sam will say. And all will be in the spirit of harmony.

mloburgio 6 years, 8 months ago

Kansas not pursuing federal prevention dollars Major federal initiative will bypass Kansas because no one applied for grant?

The brownbacks forgot to apply for this grant also.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 8 months ago

If the arts are not a core function of government, then why are they applying at all?

Aren't federal dollars also the government?

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 8 months ago

If the arts are not a core function of government, then why are they applying at all?

Aren't federal dollars also the government?

vuduchyld 6 years, 8 months ago

My state once fought for abolition Now we've got no Arts Commission I live in a red state and that's why I'm so blue!

(the video)

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 8 months ago

Reality doesn't matter here. The dollars and cents of it do not matter to Brownback and his ilk.

Abolishing the Kansas Arts Commission was a shot in the culture wars, a purely ideological move to eliminate arts and culture in the state using the budget as an excuse. It was an ideological pander to Brownback's anti-intellectual base. It had the further benefit of burnishing Browback's credibility as a "budget-slasher" to his dull followers.

I hope that there are some republicans left who are upset by this ideological move that is costing Kansas millions of dollars and making Kansas an even more insulated, isolated, and anti-intellectual place.

George_Braziller 6 years, 8 months ago

No, the majority of the dollars went to support a lot of activities across the state. Most grants require matching dollars. An arts organization that lost $2,000 of state funding lost easily $6,000 in private grant funding because there weren't any matching dollars.

It grows exponentially.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 8 months ago

Let sam the sham write it after all he knows everything.

gudpoynt 6 years, 8 months ago

mustrun80: I, for one, am not accusing you of not liking or supporting art/culture.

I'm just lamenting the fact that you don't think it's important enough to designate state funds to it.... like all previous Kansas legislatures since the Arts Commissions creation have, along with the voters that elected them... an overwhelming majority of whom have been Republican.

Despite Brownback acting as though he's the authority on just what is, and what isn't, a "core function of Government", the role of a constitutional, representative democracy is whatever the voters decide it is, so long as it doesn't violate the constitution.

Until recently, we (the collective "we" of generations past and present) have concluded that a modest budget for the promotion of arts and culture within the state was indeed a core function of government.

Where does Brownback, and you for that matter, stand on state funding for tourism? Didn't Brownback recently designate a whole section of Kansas off limits for wind energy exploration because he wanted to promote tourism there? What kind of sense does that make?

beaujackson 6 years, 8 months ago

Why are the "arts" deserving of a tax supported "hand-out" any more than any other profession?

Why should tax dollars support the "arts"?

gudpoynt 6 years, 8 months ago

they're not..

... which is why if we're going to continue tax handouts for business, we should continue funding the arts commission, right?

gudpoynt 6 years, 8 months ago

hmm.... i think maybe your assumption that "promoting the arts" only equates "1% of the benefit to society businesses/jobs do" exemplifies our disconnect.

You are not the authority on this ratio. It's a decision that is made collectively by elected administrators and legislators.

Second of all, tax revenues are expectations. Kind of like business revenues generated through sales. They don't exist in the present, but they are expected to exist in the future, if you plan for them.

Businesses hire employees and purchase assets based on expected revenues all the time. Just like governments pay for services based on expected revenues. Both can be considered, generically, as investments.

You don't want to the state to pay for the arts. Fine. I don't want to the state to stop paying for the arts because they continue to grant tax relief where they were collecting it previously. Right now in the KS government, the administration, but not the legislature, agrees with you. We'll see how it plays out in the years to come. But I would imagine, I would hope, that we will soon revert back to setting aside a modest piece of the budget to support and promote the arts, like we have done for generations.

gudpoynt 6 years, 8 months ago

tax dollars should go to support the arts, because generations of KS voters and legislators, past and present, think that it's a good idea.

Remember, it's we who decide what the core functions of government are. Not Sam Brownback.

gudpoynt 6 years, 8 months ago

of course it's an answer to your question.

The core function of government, sorry to say, is not dictated by Sam Brownback. It's a moving target that changes with the political mood.

Right now that mood seems to be pro-business over just about everything else, including education, health care, and the arts, etc.

I'm not at all surprised that business is more important than anything else to Republicans in the state government, given it's current makeup.

What is dismaying, is that the voters that put the current Republicans in power, by adhering to a political identity that has gradually shifted over the years, have likewise adopted, and ardently repeated, the importance of protecting the private sector above all else, even in their personal lives.

Just look at how anything and everything that might potentially compete with resources devoted to the protection of the private sector have been relentlessly demonized. The arts commission, which has done plenty of demonstrable good for quite a long time, suddently becomes a bloated, parisitic beuracracy. Similary, the public education system, whose value is practically incalcuable, suddenty becomes a broken system full of union thugs who don't care at all about the children they are educating. Also, anybody who wants cheaper access to quality health care gets labeled a socialist. And, most glaringly of late, anybody demanding economic justice that does not inordinately favor those who are already quite well off, is suddenly a class war monger who seeks only to steal from the rich what they can't earn for themselves.

The manipulation goes on and on.

Just as liberals should understand that conservatives are not art-haters, conservatives should understand that liberals are not business haters.

It's about priorities. There is plenty of room in the liberal agenda for private sector protection, individual freedom, and everything else the right claims that the left has no use for.

The difference is that the right has been actively looking to entirely eradicate those core functions of government cherished by the left, including the arts, education, health care, consumer protection, etc. In the conservative agenda, there's no room. They are less willing to accept a balance, because they are not seeking a balance. They want to win their battles outright.

Complete eradication of state funded arts. Complete eradication of unions. Complete eradication of state sponsored medicare. Complete eradication of state sponsored anything.

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