Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2012

Brownback’s arts funding plan criticized as too little

Jacob Gillespie, 12, shapes a clay vessel at the Lawrence Arts Center in a Sculpting with Clay class in this Aug. 2011 file photo. Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed providing $200,000 for the arts, but arts supporters said the measure was inadequate and didn’t make up for his veto of arts funding last year.

Jacob Gillespie, 12, shapes a clay vessel at the Lawrence Arts Center in a Sculpting with Clay class in this Aug. 2011 file photo. Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed providing $200,000 for the arts, but arts supporters said the measure was inadequate and didn’t make up for his veto of arts funding last year.

January 12, 2012


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed providing $200,000 for the arts, but arts supporters said the measure was inadequate and didn’t make up for his veto of arts funding last year.

“That will not satisfy me nor anyone else who is passionate about this issue,” said Sen. Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan.

But Brownback’s budget director, Steve Anderson, said the proposal was an attempt to address concerns of arts supporters.

“We actually listened to what was said,” Anderson said.

Brownback has proposed moving $200,000 to a new entity called the Creative Industries Commission, which would combine the Kansas Film Commission and Kansas Arts Commission and be under the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The $200,000 would then be allocated to arts-related businesses that can show they can create jobs.

Funding for public arts programs would be provided by selling arts supporter license plates and a tax checkoff.

Last year, Brownback vetoed the Legislature’s $689,000 appropriation to the Kansas Arts Commission, making Kansas the first state in the nation to end state funding of arts programs. He said that arts funding was not a core function of government, that private fundraising could replace the state funds, and that the state would still be able to attract matching federal arts dollars.

But the National Endowment for the Arts said the veto made Kansas ineligible for $1.3 million in arts support. Kansas never submitted its application for a partnership grant with the NEA.

Sarah Carkhuff Fizell, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Citizens for the Arts, said she was glad that Brownback made the new proposal but hoped it would change during negotiations with the Legislature.

“We’d like to see more support,” Fizell said. “Two hundred thousand dollars is not two million,” she said.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said there were still many unanswered questions about the proposal. Francisco said she wanted to make sure the state would be in a position to be eligible for federal and regional grants.


Sunny Parker 6 years, 2 months ago

Pay for your own 'arts'. Work for donations.... My tax dollars should not have to pay for your hobby!

question4u 6 years, 2 months ago

Ooookay. Now back to the actual issue.

Who besides sunny thinks that it made good business sense for the state of Kansas to lose 2.8 million dollars in matching funds over a two year period, or a net addition to the state economy of $622,000? Apparently not even Brownback.

xm75 6 years, 2 months ago

Oh don't worry that $622k will still be spent it just won't be spent of this issue. So if your only concern is whether the state or federal government will spend the money, they will.

littlexav 6 years, 2 months ago

tee hee hee.

In other news, I don't know how Sam can say that supporting the arts isn't a core function of government, since governments have been supporting the arts for thousands of years.

And for anyone looking to learn more, NEA explains its funding process and essential purposes here:

Getaroom 6 years, 2 months ago

The governors actions also killed options for matching funds, so there were even greater losses than reported here. As is conveyed by Sunny's comments, there is immense ignorance of the arts programs in this community and state wide. Shameful.

xm75 6 years, 2 months ago

And I would criticize it as to much.

Matching funds are just federal tax dollars so it makes perfect sense for Kansas to reject them IF you oppose increased federal spending. Even though the federal government will likely just spend it elsewhere, but someone has to make the principled stand and reject this malinvestment.

If whichever art programs refer to were valued by the people then they would be able to sustain themselves without a central government authority providing tax funding.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

The tax money, as you pointed out, will get spent elsewhere, so you're just spitting in the wind with that "principled stand. "

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 2 months ago

But Brownback’s budget director, Steve Anderson, said the proposal was an attempt to address concerns of arts supporters.

“We actually listened to what was said,” Anderson said.

Apparently the Brownbackers consider that to be some sort of accomplishment. "Ooooh, we actually listened!".

Sounds like something you'd hear from a 4 year old. "But mom, I listened!". Somebody give Steve Anderson a cookie for listening.

booyalab 6 years, 2 months ago

So if the state was spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to build 10 feet tall glass tubes and fill them with sand, then no reason is good enough to stop that expenditure because we might miss out on $1 million to spend on filling tubes with sand? That logic sucks.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

It doesn't suck as badly as your analogy of what funding for the arts actually covers.

EarthaKitt 6 years, 2 months ago

booyalab - I'm guessing you're someone who backs a "don't punish the wealthy/job creators" mantra. If that's the case, then wouldn't the tubes of glass filled with sand support that belief? The glass would have to be purchased and processed, the sand would have to be plowed or harvested or mined or ground up or whatever you do to get sand, and all of that stuff would have to be delivered to the glass tube staging area. Somebody would probably have to clean up any over-pour and no doubt another person would periodically polish those damn tubes. I know I hate smudged glass tubes of sand more than anyone.

It actually sounds pretty lucrative. Any investors out there?

littlexav 6 years, 2 months ago

Me! Me!

Actually, tubes of sand sounds like a great metaphor for our fragile stockholder-capitalism economy. You could probably get an NEA grant to help stage that exhibition.

skinny 6 years, 2 months ago

My tax dollar should not be spent on the arts! Thats is not why I pay taxes!!

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

And, yet, it's a perfectly good way to spend my tax dollars, from my point of view.

There are many other ways tax revenue is used that I have a much bigger problem with, like much of our military spending.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

Let's compromise, shall we? Your tax dollars will be spent on the arts, and my tax dollars will be used to fund military personnel urinating on dead people.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

Urinating on dead people...wait a minute, isn't that art?

blindrabbit 6 years, 2 months ago

the sole purpose for the State to financially contribute to The Arts is to alienate Sunny and her right-wing ilk. Otherwise, Art's provide no benefit to the intellectual health of the Community, do nothing to help educate childern, do nothing to provide diversity to the culture, do nothing to attract business, do nothing to promote creative thinking. Sunny and her agreers are willing to give-up what amounts to a few cents per person per year in tax dollors, which kills off a much larger contribution from the federal government to continue want to live in conservative Kansas blandness. This is especially important in Kansas, as the State has very few areas of natural beauty. Come out of you shell, get involved in a creative hobby; it will have profoung effect on a positive benefit to your well being and psyche!

Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 2 months ago

  • 1 .. and Art does promote jobs too.. both in creative development and actual work!... $200,000 for Brownback's commission does NOT begin to make up for the over $600,000 he thumbed his nose at... without, as usual, finding out where the people of Kansas really stand on this issue. Those that think art is just a "hobby" are intellectually neglected!!

Robert Rauktis 6 years, 2 months ago

Public funded art is usually awful art, unless you're into Leni Riefenstahl or national monuments. Without passionate public scrutiny, classic discretionary government waste. Good ole Nancy Pelosi was behind government subsidy of the OPERA in San Francisco.

I wonder if that covered opening night canapes? We need to consult Dr. Frasier Crane.

texburgh 6 years, 2 months ago

OPERA! Boy, you sure make a good point there! If any "art" is east coast liberal elite "art" or "San Francisco art" (if you get my drift), it's OPERA!

I hear tell they don't even sing in ENGLISH! I move that if we must spend $200,000 on arty stuff, we ban OPERA until we can get a constitutional amendment passed declaring ENGLISH the office OPERA language in KANSAS. And make them have TUNES too like in OKLAHOMA or SOUND OF MUSIC. Maybe Kris Kobach and Mike O'Neal can take this up. And they could get a little help from Virgil Peck and Connie O'Brien too. THEY understand what all these foreigners are doing to us.

I don't pay my taxes to support your east coast liberal elite "ART." I don't pay them to support your San Francisco lifestyle either! NO OPERA!

Wayne Propst 6 years, 2 months ago

$56,600,000 for Kansas wildlife svc.........hunting and fishing is hobby the gov . will not cut.

littlexav 6 years, 2 months ago

I think the broader point is that one man's "hobby" is another man's "job-creator."

rtwngr 6 years, 2 months ago

If the $200,000 isn't enough then we should use it elsewhere and tell the arts fartsy crowd to go jump in the lake of their choice.

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow. Can beleive people are bitching about not being given enough money. The state has just so much money to spend. No matter where it’s spent it appears that some people are going to feel it’s never enough. Maybe you should look at it a different way? You want more money for arts or do you want the SRS building? Paint and crayons or bread and milk? Interesting concept, huh.

lucky_guy 6 years, 2 months ago

The point here is why give money at all if it doesn't hit the point where the feds will kick in the 1.2 million. What is the money going for? Is it another scheme to give the money to the people who contribute the most to Brownie's reelection fund? Basically making the State contribute to Brownie's Presidential hopes by bribing the locals to kick in so they can get some glass tubes? Pretty good scam if you can make it work.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 2 months ago

The arts, including opera, are a net contributor to the economy.One great example of this is the Wichita Grand Opera, web page at In addition to employing 135 full time artists [singers and actors], the WGO also provides full time employment for administrative and support staff, as well as temporary employment opportunities for carpenters, painters, and other trades for set building. Temporary employment opportunities are provided for ticket takers, ushers, and other necessary staff. WGO attracts thousands of tourists each year, adding dollars to the local economy in terms of hotel/motel occupancy, restaurant dining, and other areas associated with tourism.

Local employers recognize the benefits of the WGO. For example, Cessna has formed a Cessna Employees WGO Club, and provides as a benefit to their employees access to reduced rate tickets. This sort of benefit helps to retain high quality employees.

Finally, the WGO has a diverse art/opera education program available to the community.

All of this benefit to the Wichita economy used to cost the state a measly $8,000 from the Kansas Arts Commission, part of that money coming from the National Endowment for the Arts. Now WGO gets zero from the state.

It is pretty hard to understand why we would not fund economic development that gets this good of a return on the dollar.

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

How is it off the mark, at all? You need another example? Try this one. A family of 4, (father, mother, 2 children). After paying mortgage, utility bills and car payment on their high efficiency hybrid car find they have only $300.00 left to spend on groceries and other necessities like toiletries and gas for their high efficiency car. This $300.00 has to last for the entire month. Just so happens the children, little Johnny and Mary Ann, have friends that invite them to spend a whole Saturday swimming and playing at their house. Sounds OK so far, but then Carol Sue tells Mary Ann that they’re also going to the mall where there’s a puppet show! And it’s going to be so much fun and it only costs $7.00 a ticket! Then she tells her after the puppet show they’re going to stop by the “Arcade and Romper Room” and that’s really cheap too. It’s just $20.00 for half a day! Now since they’re going to be spending about 6 hrs at the mall, they’re going to each need roughly $12.00 to get something to eat and drink. Total so far is $78.00 for little Johnny and Mary Ann to spend the day with their friends. Ya following me? So now mommy and daddy have to make the decision. Let little Johnny and Mary Ann go with their friends and spend almost one third of their grocery money on “entertainment” for one day or tell them “no” and not let them go. Somebody’s not going to be happy with one of the decisions. After mommy and daddy explain to little Johnny and Mary Ann that they only have so much money and they have to “spend” it wisely to cover the necessities, little Johnny and Mary Ann understand and grow up without feeling “entitled” to be “given” everything. They were taught to work and pay for what they need and want.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like mom might need to pick up some extra shifts at The Bird to pay for those oh-so-prevalent "puppet show" habits.

(This time-sensitive example was brought to you by Pogs.)

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

Not at all. If you work for your money, and you have extra that you don't need, give it to whom ever you like. But don't beleive that just because you want to give money to an organization or individual entitles everyone to give money. I love the arts. When I have extra money I support the arts, but I do not spend money I don't have. And for people who make art their life, it's no longer a hobby, it's a business. It they can't support themselves with their business, then at that time they need to get out of the business.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

I take it you are then opposed to each and every form of government assistance to businesses?

Like Boeing, etc.

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

You need to tell me how to my 200%! I've never received a matching funds check!

63BC 6 years, 2 months ago

The picture of the young man working with clay is from August 2011.

I thought all art in Kansas ceased to be when government stopped paying for it.

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

Appears the Wichita Grand Opera is doing very well! Why on earth would it need the measly $8,000.00 from the Kansas Arts Commission? That would be the same as someone who needed public assistance to get on their feet continue to receive public assistance after they become a millionaire!

progressive_thinker 6 years, 2 months ago

The state gave Boeing $2,175,355 in 2007 for a training program. Boeing repaid the goodwill of the taxpayers by pulling out of the state.

The state gave Hawher-Beechcrat $40,000,000 in incentives, and they repaid the goodwill by building a new factory -- in Mexico.

$8,000 is just part of a larger fundraising effort to keep this community asset in place, and compared to other investments made by the state, is hugely cost effective.

WilburNether 6 years, 2 months ago

Listen to the little piggies squeal when the flow of taxpayer dollars into the public trough at which they feed is reduced!

Let the artsies pay for their thing themselves.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

Had the gov proposed to hire a million people and pay them $17.50 an hour to do wheat-weaving, the ususal suspects would say it wasn't enough.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

I see no evidence that your claim is correct.

If he had simply continued the funding at the level necessary to get matching federal dollars, nobody would have criticized him for it at all.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

I hope you realize that we had about $2 million for the arts, including federal and state funding, and now he's proposing to supply about $200K - that's 1/10 of the previous amount of funding.

pavlovs_dog 6 years, 2 months ago

More important to spend tax dollars blowing holes in things?

progressive_thinker 6 years, 2 months ago

For anyone interested in some research on the topic of benefits of art education, please visit the study in this regard at

This study provides details and data about the overall value for the taxpayer that is seen by investment in the arts, in terms of potential for crime reduction, improvement of graduation rates, and other areas. . Cutting funding to the arts may be penny wise, but is pound foolish

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey, feel free to donate your next paycheck, if you have one, to the arts! I need to use mine to live on. Just a little question, who paid for this study?

progressive_thinker 6 years, 2 months ago

It was paid for by the author. It is a graduate research project..

Patriot2 6 years, 2 months ago

It appears to be a students assignment referencing studies from 1996 to 2001, mostly conducted for and paid by the government (taxpayers)!

progressive_thinker 6 years, 2 months ago

OK, so what is your point? It is common for government entities to engage in research, either directly or through universities, to determine appropriate policy approaches. It is often referred to as "evidence based practices."

EAStevens 6 years, 2 months ago

Years ago, a man lived in Ellis, Kansas for a time, and he eventually bore a son who had artistic talent. Perhaps it was lucky that the man moved to Illinois before his son was born and then to Missouri where the boy indulged his love of drawing, and that the son had the opportunity to study art in both Missouri and Illinois. The son imagined a business to capitalize on his artwork and finally moved out west to see if he could really make a go of it.

His gamble paid off, and he used art to generate profit and create jobs: from the humble beginning of a Mortimer Mouse drawing, Walt Disney built a powerhouse enterprise. Last year, it saw $36 billion in revenue, and its success still revolves around the vision and talent of artists. Maybe Walt Disney would have had the same success from a start in Ellis, Kansas, back then or even today. Or maybe a more artist-friendly climate in Illinois and Missouri made a difference for him. What do you all think?

fearthetaliban 6 years, 2 months ago

Save some big $$ Gov. Disband that hobby based KS Wildlife Services.

blindrabbit 6 years, 2 months ago

SFBayhawk: Your mentioning of Leni Riefenstahl in a story about Brownie and his art funding further convinces me about the right-wing agenda of some in the Repub. Party. Much of the success of the Third Reich was based on the art of Leni, the operas of Wagner and the twisted logic of Goebbels and Himmler.

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