Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Arts issues

September 26, 2012


To the editor:

The future of public support for the arts in Kansas is in jeopardy — again. Action is needed now.

In order for Kansas to receive funding in FY 2014 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014) from the National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Department of Commerce must submit a partnership application to the NEA by Oct. 1. If they do not, Kansas will not be eligible for this funding until FY 2015 at the earliest. We must demand that Secretary of Commerce Pat George submit this application by Oct. 1.

There is a second problem. Although the Legislature appropriated $700,000, there has been no plan given or public accounting for how these funds have been or will be used. We must demand an accounting for these funds and ensure that a large portion is going to nonprofit arts programs around the state. If these newly appropriated funds are not used for arts programs, the governor and others may cite this inaction as cause to move the funds to another agency and kill the possibility of renewing public support for the arts in the foreseeable future.

If you care about the arts in Kansas, please urge Secretary George to follow through on the state’s commitment to public funding.


Eybea Opiner 5 years, 8 months ago

If the cr*p we have in downtown is representative of public art....no, thanks.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Too bad we can't require all artists to be Norman Rockwell clones-- that might satisfy Solomon.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

"The art world is a world of business; really big business. According to a recent segment on 60 Minutes, the market for this art has outperformed the Standard & Poor’s list of 500 common stocks since 2003.

As a good investment, art is bigger than ever. Elite art buyers – many from Russia and China — are so ravenous that in the last year alone, the contemporary art market raked in over $5 billion in auction sales."

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 8 months ago

I would think the entire population of the state would be jumping at the chance to pay some old burnt out hippie to smoke weed and produce things acquired from a dumpster, then sell it to the city for $40,000, while being paid to do so by the state! God Bless America!

Good art stands on its own merit. Good art is rewarded by being purchased by someone that values it more than their hard earned cash. Bad art is nothing more than the practice of consuming resources and turning them into unuseable trash.

Think about it this way, if you hung your shingle out as anything other than an "Artist" does the taxpayer have your back?

chootspa 5 years, 8 months ago

By your standards, Van Gogh was a lousy artist, and Bouguereau was a genius.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

From Arts to Industry: Reviving Downtowns Through Investment in the Arts

For 25 years, Barry Cassidy has remade neighborhoods like so many investors flip houses. When he arrived in Phoenixville, a community of 16,000 about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia in 2003, drugs and prostitution had driven many away from a downtown that for 200 years rode the fortunes of the Phoenix Iron and Steel Company.

An arts and entertainment strategy (http://www.mainstreetphoenixville.org/about/a-e-strategy.html) to redevelop the downtown started simply enough with the addition of 200 seats to the historic Colonial Theater, considered the plan's anchor building. A new arts center followed, along with streetscape improvements. Six years and well over $20 million in private investment later, thousands congregate every week for movies, live music, restaurants and galleries in Phoenixville, where most property values have quadrupled.

"People learned to say yes to creative ideas," says Cassidy.

Numerous corners of the Commonwealth have learned that lesson, resulting in redevelopment of both communities and economies. Despite a mountain of data that highlights the correlation between the arts and prosperity, the arts community finds itself in a familiar position--fighting for funding that has historically resulted in private investment and prosperity.

"We will have to be willing to make this case year after year," says Mitch Swain, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. "Part of the difficulty we've had is for so long the arts have tried to sell itself using arguments fueled by passion.

"We're most successful when we bring factual arguments alongside that passion."

In Pennsylvania, approximately $1 billion apiece is spent by non-profit arts and culture organizations and their patrons, according to a 2005 study by non-profit advocates Americans for the Arts (http://www.americansforthearts.org/). The sector is responsible for more than 22,000 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $367 million in household income, and directs $57 million and $74 million, respectively, to local and state government coffers.

Those numbers are only as meaningful as the organizations who promote them. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance works with nearly 400 non-profit arts and culture organizations in the five-county region in a variety of ways, like advocacy, research, marketing, and funding. Its policy department reaches out into communities to help connect arts organizations with local government, community development groups and the for-profit sector.

more http://www.keystoneedge.com/features/artsstateeconomy0820.aspx

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Arts and Economic Prosperity http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/research/services/economic_impact/005.asp

Information and Support Services http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/research/reports/default.asp

Economic Impact of the Non Profit Arts and Culture Industry http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/research/services/economic_impact/default.asp

Arts & Economic Prosperity IV is our fourth study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry's impact on the economy. The most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted, it gives us a quantifiable economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. Using findings from 182 regions representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, an input-output economic model is able to deliver national estimates.

Quick Facts

Nationally, the industry generated $135.2 billion of economic activity—$61.1 billion by the nation's nonprofit arts and culture organizations in addition to $74.1 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.13 million full-time jobs and generates $86.68 billion in resident household income. Our industry also generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year—a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations. Despite the economic headwinds that our country faced in 2010, the results are impressive.

More impressive $$$$ in the economy data http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/research/services/economic_impact/iv/national.asp

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

I care enough about Art in Kansas that I own two pieces by Lawrence artists one of which is a 1/1 lithograph and the other is a an un-numbered lithograph the artist signed with a brief note to me. I'm not sure I want you to pay for it. The frames were $1000.

I also have an oil and a sculpture by a nationally collected artist, some of my own work and assorted hand-crafted knick knacks.

Interestingly, the next piece I buy will be from an artist in Bosnia. I'm just waiting for her to do the right one.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

And it's very likely that if these artists hadn't had access to art programs as kids (which was one of the primary functions of the now defunct Arts Commission and the NEA grants to similar commissions across the country) they would never have become artists or produced the pieces that you bought.

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

And the woman in Bosnia? Is the NEA responsible for her being an artist?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

"Very likely" is very likely an unknown.

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

Not as unknown as you might think. One print is by a local artist that worked with Stan Herd. I'm sure he had some government funding somewhere and he paid the salary of the young man working for him that would some day run me off a print.

The other is by a KU professor. She's had to have some NEA funding along the way.

fiddleback 5 years, 8 months ago

The frames were $1000?

Don't worry, nobody would mistake you as someone who sees a role for the state in arts patronage...

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

$1000 is a chunk of change for me. And that was just frames, well, framing. I didn't do it myself.

If nobody sees me as an art patron, that's OK. I'll still buy. I just have no use for my money supporting others because there work doesn't pay well.

Unlike some, I have no problem with the state buying art, even in times of recession as I realize art is a mirror of society, and it is the state's job to preserve records. That's why you never hear me complain about the art bought by Lawrence.

You can go back to being an art patron now. Do it with your own money and I'll spend mine the way I want.

Fossick 5 years, 8 months ago

"Do it with your own money"

Surely you jest. Using public radio as a stand-in for public funding of the arts (as most who support the latter support the former), it's demonstrable that those who "support the arts" do not normally do so with their own money.

Talk to the local public radio station manager and you'll learn that 10% of listeners (at the very highest) financially support the station. "Listener-supported" in that case means 10% of listeners and lots and lots of non-listeners. Listeners will tell you how much they love it, what a valuable service it is, etc. But if you should raise the idea that the non-listeners ought to not be charged for the enjoyment of the 90% of listeners who get the benefit, somehow you hate public radio at best and are a puppet of the Kochs at worst.

And yes, I do financially support public radio with a deduction from every paycheck. But I don't expect anyone else to unless they are listeners.

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