The art of nurturing the arts eludes Sam Brownback's Kansas
The Kansas City Star
Gov. Sam Brownback’s move to decapitate public funding for the arts in Kansas has cost the state about $1.2 million a year in matching federal and regional grants, while leaving a bleak future for arts groups. A foundation that Brownback encouraged as a substitute to the Kansas Arts Commission raised only $105,000, and $30,000 of that came from the governor’s inaugural account.
The Kansas Arts Foundation has given out no grant money to local arts organizations, the Topeka Capital-Journal has reported. It has spent $16,800, with $15,000 of that being used on receptions in an attempt to entice more contributors.
“It takes a goodly amount of work to organize a foundation,” Linda Browning Weis, the foundation’s president, told the Capital-Journal.
That is indisputable — and especially when a lot of people aren’t really on board with the foundation’s very existence.
Brownback, you will remember, last year vetoed $700,000 for the longstanding Kansas Arts Commission, which went defunct. But that cost the state the matching funds.
Legislators this session created the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which is supposed to focus on using the arts as a way to create jobs. The Legislature appropriated $700,000 for the commission, which survived the veto process. The advisory commission has yet to meet, however.
There is a reason that state and federal governments collaborate to improve the quality of life in communities through the arts — private funding isn’t sufficient to fill that role. Unfortunately, Kansas is leading the nation in learning that lesson.