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Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Battle over state arts funding continues

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.

October 10, 2012

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— The fight over state funding of the arts continued Wednesday.

In 2011, 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.

The move also cost Kansas $1.2 million in funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-American Arts Alliance, and many arts groups had to cancel or limit events and programs.

But after months of political heat, Brownback agreed to establish the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in the Department of Commerce, and he and the Legislature approved a $700,000 appropriation starting July 1.

But none of that money has been disbursed to arts groups across the state, according to Peter Jasso, who is director the Creative Arts Industries Commission.

That raised the concern of several legislators during a meeting Wednesday of the Legislative Budget Committee.

“The cry to reinstate the arts was the local communities, the rural communities, the ones that suffered the most,” said state Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who is chairwoman of the committee.

State Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said the money should be used because numerous local arts groups depend on the grants.

“We didn’t expect it (the appropriation) to just sit there,” she said.

But Jasso said grants shouldn’t be allocated until after the commission has completed a new statewide strategic plan for arts funding, which will be submitted to the NEA. He said that should be done in January 2013. In addition, he said, the earliest the state could receive funding from the NEA is July 2013.

Susan Tate, executive director of the Lawrence Arts Center, said the loss of arts funding from the state has been a significant blow to the Kansas arts community.

But Tate agreed that the new Creative Arts Industries Commission should hold off disbursing funds for now.

“It’s a legitimate question, but I don’t think the Creative Arts Industries Commission has the infrastructure in place to receive grant requests, study the applications and distribute the money,” Tate said. “The priority has to be getting the strategic plan in place, then applying to the NEA, and demonstrating to them we have money and infrastructure in place.”

Tate said she would be serving on the steering committee that will provide guidance on the process of putting together a statewide plan.

Comments

cowboy 1 year, 9 months ago

Death by neglect , Seems to be Brownhacks new tactic.

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windex 1 year, 9 months ago

Traditionally there have been 3 sources of support for the arts. 1) The Church 2) The Government (through taxation and/or slavery) 3) Independent Patronage

Entertainment and crafts make money in the marketplace. The fine arts typically can only partially self-support. What do people suggest?

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overthemoon 1 year, 9 months ago

Final Friday crowds, who are looking primarily at 'fine' arts, spend a ton of money on food, drink and some art. It is an economic boon to the community. Which in turn ends up being advantageous to the artists. They have 10 or more times the number of places to show their work than they did just a few years ago, they make contacts, see other artists' work and improve the business side of their art.

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frank mcguinness 1 year, 9 months ago

Well isnt that just a great idea. Maybe Dighton, Tonganoxie, or Montezuma Kansas should all work to start Final Friday's in their communities. Wouldn't that be great! All the artists in those towns will be able to network and sell lots of art. Sheesh.

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verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Some people seem to be confusing "the arts" and "fine arts" as being the same thing. Fine art is one area of the arts. The arts include music, drama, dance, architecture, etc. Or maybe it's willful ignorance so people can pretend to believe that all the money was being given to starving artists so they could spend their time doing bad paintings or junk sculpture rather than holding down a real job.

"In 2011, Brownback vetoed the Legislature’s $689,000 appropriation to the Kansas Arts Commission". . . "The move also cost Kansas $1.2 million in funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-American Arts Alliance" . . . "This year, Brownback and the Legislature agreed to establish the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in the Department of Commerce with a $700,000 appropriation starting July 1." . . . "But none of that money has been disbursed" . . . "I don't think the Creative Arts Industries Commission has the infrastructure in place to receive grant requests, study the applications and distribute the money," Tate said."

So we had the infrastructure in place, the governor destroyed it and replaced it with political appointees, the state (we, the people) lost money and now they can't do their job because the infrastructure is not in place.

Did I get that right?

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windex 1 year, 9 months ago

You absolutely got it right, verity. I shouldn't have used the term " fine" but was trying to describe the arts which take an especially large investment of time and resources to master, as opposed to lower level forms of entertainment and craft. Many forms of performing and visual arts simply aren't able to generate enough income by " selling" their "product" to survive. The church obviously isn't going to fund them. Many wealthy patrons support the arts but that is a very inefficient, inconsistent way to go. Governmental support is by far the most fair, efficient way to help give the public access to participation in the arts.

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verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Wasn't directing that at you, windex, and I take your point. I was directing it at the people who keep complaining that they don't want their tax money going to support lazy layabouts who won't get a real job, when the Kansas Arts Commission promotes (now it's "promoted" as in past tense) a wide variety of things which many Kansans might not get to participate in or see/hear and learn from otherwise. Among other things, that includes traveling museum exhibits which research and teach Kansas history and projects which promote Kansas. In the whole scheme of things, $689,000 is a small amount and probably paid for itself over and over again in both money and knowledge and many people, even the complainers, probably benefited from grants without knowing it.

Want to place any bets on how much of the $700,000 actually "trickles down" rather than being used on "administrative costs," i.e. salaries and benefits for the committee?

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