Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kansas to miss out on about $800,000 in arts funding in 2017

The Kansas legislature has not appropriated enough funds to achieve the required match for the National Endowment for the Arts to fund the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (the state's art agency) in 2017. Kansas will lose approximately $400,000 from the NEA and $370,000 from the Mid-America Arts Alliance which is not permitted to fund states when they do not meet the NEA match. These losses amount to an 80% cut in state support for the arts. In addition, Kansas artists will not be allowed to apply for grants from the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kansas is 49th in funding the arts...

We're number #2, we're number #2, just a couple cents ahead of Arizona in the race to the bottom! This while all of our neighbor states (Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri) are supporting the arts at 5 to 15 times what Kansas does.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Editorial: Loss of Kansas Arts Funding

originally published in the Lawrence Journal-World
November 17, 2015

The state’s lack of investment in the arts once again has put Kansas in danger of losing federal funding distributed through the National Endowment for the Arts. Unless the state agrees to add about $225,000 to its arts budget for the current fiscal year, it will fall short of the minimum state investment to qualify for about $591,000 in federal matching funds. The potential loss of those funds will have a devastating impact on arts organizations across the state, especially those in smaller communities that have less ability to raise local funds. 

Even if the state weren’t facing its current financial challenges, it’s doubtful that Gov. Sam Brownback would advocate more arts funding. In his first year in office, he vetoed all funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, causing NEA to cut off federal funds in 2011. Legislators allocated $700,000 for the arts in 2012, but that amount has declined to just $190,000 this year for what now is called the Creative Arts Industries Commission. The state hopes to raise an additional $58,000 from an income-tax checkoff and the sale of special license plates to support the arts in Kansas, but those efforts combined will total about $248,000, just over half of what the state needs to qualify for NEA funds.

When Brownback vetoed funding in 2011, he said that tax dollars shouldn’t be used to support the arts because it isn’t a “core” function of government. He then created the Kansas Arts Foundation, a private nonprofit group, to support the arts. From all indications, that group has done almost nothing to fill the gap. Its website includes a Sept. 25, 2014, news release announcing three grant awards in the state; no dollar amounts were given. No grants were listed for this year. Those who might like to seek a grant from the organization are referred to a link that informs them that the foundation “is excited to announce a 2.6 million dollar fundraising campaign to secure an endowment to sustain funding for the future! … As a result, all grant applications are suspended at this time.”

The state has until Jan. 15 — four days after the beginning of the 2016 legislative session — to come up with additional funding. Between now and then, the Department of Commerce says it will try to work with other state agencies to document any direct or in-kind contributions to the arts that might be used to justify the NEA matching funds. It will be interesting to see what state officials are able to cobble together — and whether it in any way meets the NEA requirements.

Arts are an important part of our quality of life, but, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Kansas allocated less per-capita funding to the arts in the current fiscal year than any other state except Arizona. That’s a statistic that should make state officials ashamed enough to step up and scrape together at least the minimum funding needed to maintain federal NEA support.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kansas faces possible loss of all federal arts funding...again

originally published in the Lawrence Journal-World
November 10, 2015

— The leader of a statewide advocacy group warned Tuesday that Kansas is likely to lose its federal arts dollars again early next year because the state isn’t providing enough funding for arts programs under Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration. But a Department of Commerce spokesman said it is working on partnerships with other state agencies to show the National Endowment for the Arts that Kansas’ commitment to arts projects is strong enough to qualify for federal dollars.

Henry Schwaller, chairman of Kansas Citizens for the Arts, said he expects the NEA to withhold about $591,000 it had planned to send the state during its current fiscal year, which began in July. An NEA official told state officials in a September letter that the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission was almost $225,000 short under the current budget of the state funding “match” needed to qualify for federal dollars. The NEA’s letter told the state it must close the gap by Jan. 15 — four days after the GOP-dominated Legislature convenes its next annual session. The commission is part of the state Department of Commerce, and Schwaller said he’s not expecting it or Brownback’s office to find the additional funds.

“The impact is going to be dramatic,” said Schwaller, the president of a Hays real estate firm who serves on the commission. “It will just accelerate the decline of arts organizations and the arts and culture across Kansas.” But Department of Commerce spokesman Dan Lara said state funding for an arts-related project by another agency — or even an “in-kind” contribution such as employees’ time — could count toward meeting the commitment required by the NEA for federal funds. Thus, the Department of Commerce is considering partnerships with other agencies, he said.
“We continue to look for those opportunities,” Lara said.

State arts funding peaked at $1.7 million during Kansas’ 2008 budget year. When Brownback took office in January 2011, he argued that private funds should support arts programs so the state could focus its tax dollars on “core” government functions, such as education, public safety and social services. The governor in 2011 vetoed all state arts funding, which prompted the NEA to cut off federal funds and brought Kansas national criticism. Legislators in 2012 budgeted $700,000 for the arts commission, but the amount has declined since.

The potential loss of federal arts funds comes as the state wrestles with its own budget problems. State officials and university economists last week issued a new fiscal forecast that slashed the state’s projected revenues, and Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, immediately announced $124 million in budget adjustments to avert a deficit. Sullivan and the chairmen of the Legislature’s budget-writing committees said they weren’t aware of the NEA’s push for Kansas to boost its arts funding. “The timing is almost impossible,” said Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican.

Lawmakers set aside about $190,000 for the Creative Arts Industries Commission’s operations in the current budget. The state expects to provide another $58,000, mostly from an income-tax checkoff for the arts and the sale of special arts license plates. But the state’s $248,000 falls short of the nearly $473,000 that the NEA says Kansas must provide to receive its federal funds. In its letter dated Sept. 3, Laura Scanlan, the agency’s director of state and regional partnerships, said federal law requires the larger amount as a match and Kansas will forfeit NEA funds without it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013