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Archive for Friday, July 12, 2013

Editorial: Arts demise

The paltry grants announced earlier this week offer little hope for future state support of the arts in Kansas.

July 12, 2013

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Tuesday’s announcement that the state was awarding $58,000 in grants to eight arts projects across Kansas was a sad indication of how far state support for the arts has fallen under the leadership of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

In its 2010 annual report, the Kansas Arts Commission noted that, despite downturns in the economy, the agency was able to provide nearly $1.6 million in grants to organizations and artists. Those grants went to 299 organizations, government agencies and individuals in 59 different Kansas counties.

The annual report for 2010 was the last one available for the commission, which was founded in 1966. Brownback took office in January 2011, and by the end of fiscal year 2011, the Kansas Arts Commission was in shambles. The governor first abolished the commission by executive order. After his action was overridden by state legislators, he retaliated by vetoing all funding for the agency. The next year, he folded the Arts Commission and the Kansas Film Commission into a new entity called the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, but never provided adequate funding for either endeavor.

The new entity made no grants for the arts last year. In a feeble attempt to restore some of the $1.3 million in regional and federal matching funds the state had lost, the new commission carried over enough money to fund the grants that were announced Tuesday. It remains to be seen whether the state’s paltry investment will meet the requirements for matching funds from the Mid-American Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts. Those agencies are unlikely to overlook the fact that the recent grants were made from leftover funds from a $700,000 budget allocation last year, an amount that has been sliced to $200,000 for the current year. That doesn’t bode well for a sustained arts effort in Kansas.

The huge reduction in grants is easy to quantify, but the Kansas Arts Commission was far more than a pass-through agency for arts funding. The 2010 annual report notes other important activities, including business development workshops, consultations on arts management and community development through the arts. Before it came under attack, the Arts Commission acted as a clearinghouse for information and non-financial support for artists and arts agencies across the state. The commission no longer has the funding or the staff to provide that kind of support to a nonprofit arts and cultural industry that it estimated in 2010 contributed $153.5 million to the Kansas economy.

That’s why it’s so sad to see the vibrant program of the Kansas Arts Commission reduced to $58,000 in grants, mostly for physical improvements to buildings. Henry Schwaller, a Hays resident who served as chairman of the Arts Commission board in 2010 and also serves on the new agency’s board, tried to express some optimism for the future saying that although the state had lost millions, “at least we are starting back from scratch.”

Kansas should hope that his optimism is justified, but the last two years have surely dimmed those prospects.

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 1 week ago

Do what Birger Sandzen and therIrierint makers did, Creat art and sell it The problem is the arts community in Lawrence wants it all! Well earn it!

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Centerville 9 months, 1 week ago

"The Kansas Arts Commission - whose budget was never extravagant - leveraged modest local resources strategically to enhance the economic impact of the arts as well as the quality of life throughout Kansas," said the application for more of Kansans' hard-earned money.

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Ray Parker 9 months, 1 week ago

If the arts are so important, private donors can fund it. I don't want my tax money going for it, especially when some of the public displays are vulgar, lewd, obscene, or anti-Christian. Pay-back? You betcha!

Piss Christ

Piss Christ by parkay

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rooster 9 months, 1 week ago

Why is this so hard for people to understand? I will make this as simple as possible to understand.
Kansas spends: 2 Million dollars on Arts. Kansas Economy receives: 153 Million dollars in the economy. Kansas taxes earnings at lets say 5%: 7.65 Million Dollars in revenue. So here is the results...... The state spends 2 million to make 7.65 Million and the rest of Kansas businesses get 145 Million. I am not sure that even drug dealers get that kind of return on investments.
Why is this a bad thing again?

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Larry Moss 9 months, 1 week ago

The "Arts" are not an essential part of government. At any level of government.

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Larry Moss 9 months, 1 week ago

The "Arts" are not an essential part of Government. Not Federal, State, County or City.

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oneeye_wilbur 9 months, 1 week ago

What a bunch of hype from the JW. Dolph can donate $85,000 to match it.

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Karl_Hungus 9 months, 1 week ago

"$58,000 is a lot of money but, not enough, apparently, to keep the government-run art industry from whining. Maybe this editorial is some sort of wacky conceptual art piece"

Yo, if money is so tight then why is Browback creating laws that even he has admitted will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more (well, it already has) to defend in court? I mean, it is nice that he can hook his buddies up with the work but if he has money for that, then there is money for this.

At least with art, you have something to show for it but throwing money at (more money than the arts ever got) lawyers to defend unconstitutional laws, well, that is just plain Kansas

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weiser 9 months, 1 week ago

Melt down your guns and make art!

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TalkSense 9 months, 1 week ago

Centerville doesn't understand. The intentional and short-sighted destruction of the Kansas Arts Commission is a tragedy primarily for the many small-town arts-related groups for whom even a modest state grant had a major impact. I'm not worried about the arts in Lawrence. We have many groups that have access to long lists of generous donors, active volunteers, KU resources, city funding, and other assets. The already struggling small towns that dot the Kansas landscape have almost none of that and their tiny arts-related groups are likely to dry up and disappear. The Kansas Arts Commission - whose budget was never extravagant - leveraged modest local resources strategically to enhance the economic impact of the arts as well as the quality of life throughout Kansas. All of that is now gone and may be impossible to rebuild.

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Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

The Brownback political campaign is under way. Keep that in mind.

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Centerville 9 months, 1 week ago

$58,000 is a lot of money but, not enough, apparently, to keep the government-run art industry from whining. Maybe this editorial is some sort of wacky conceptual art piece.

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Centerville 9 months, 1 week ago

So, now even $58,000 in taxpayer money is beneath contempt when it comes to funding the local art bureaucracy. Here's my conceptual art idea for what to do with that insultingly small amount of money: Change it all into $100 bills, set up a table downtown, and give $100 to the first 580 people who show proof with their 2103 Kansas Income Tax forms that they paid into it. Cost to taxpayer: Zero, which makes it an even more worthy project.

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Pheps 9 months, 1 week ago

I understand from this article, the idea that it takes money to create Art?

This idea sounds like Koch's and their incessant desire for money to create a better society through working, creating goods and services.

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