Sunday, October 7, 2012

Letter from the Secretary of Commerce

Below is the form letter many received from Secretary of Commerce Pat George, in response to concerns about where Kansas's $700,000 budget for the Creative Arts Industries Commission is being (or not being) spent. Judge for yourself about whether this is an adequate response.

1000 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 100
Topeka, KS 66612-1354
Phone: (785) 296-3481
Fax: (785) 296-5055 TTY: 711

Pat George, Secretary                                                                               Sam Brownback, Governor

October 2012

Dear Arts Stakeholder:

Thank you for contacting the Department of Commerce to share your concerns about the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. The KCAIC is dedicated to growing the state’s economy through the promotion and expansion of industries engaged in the creative arts and ultimately the creation of jobs in the sector.

In the last three months, Commerce has worked to integrate and consolidate the former Kansas Arts Commission and Kansas Film Commission into this new commission. We also have met with potential industry partners including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Association of State Arts Agencies, and the Mid-America Arts Alliance to discuss the goals of the KCAIC and possible future relationships. We will continue to meet with national and regional organizations in specific disciplines as we look to expand our partnership network.

On Oct. 1, Commerce submitted the KCAIC’s grant application to the NEA for possible funding for Fiscal Year 2014. As you may know, the NEA requires a well-vetted, long-term strategic plan as to how the Department will use matching funds based on the Commission’s mission as defined by the Kansas Legislature. This strategic planning process usually takes one to two years. The Department hopes to complete the strategic planning process by the first quarter 2013. Should the KCAIC’s application be successful, the earliest NEA funding will be available in Kansas is in fall 2013.
If you are interested in learning more about the overall direction the Commission will take in crafting its strategic plan, I encourage you to read the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices report titled, “New Engines of Growth: Five Roles for Arts, Culture and Design,” which outlines strategies for using arts, culture and design as a means for states to enhance economic growth and job creation.

The Commission also is working with the Kansas Department of Revenue to carry forward the former Kansas Arts Commission’s efforts to raise private dollars with the selling of arts license plates. Starting with their 2012 tax returns, Kansans also may support the creative industries through the KCAIC Checkoff Fund on their tax returns.

In addition, I should note there has been much confusion about the difference between the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and the Kansas Arts Foundation. The Commission is the entity within the Department of Commerce that will oversee the state’s efforts to expand economic activity within the creative industries in Kansas. The Foundation is a private, non-profit entity formed to promote the arts in the state. The Foundation is not affiliated with the State of Kansas. For more information about the Foundation, visit its website.

Thank you again for contacting the Department of Commerce. I welcome your thoughts on how the state can expand economic activity and job creation through the creative industries in Kansas.

Pat George
Secretary of Commerce