What's the Matter with Kansas...This Time?


Friday, February 18, 2011

Kansas Arts Protest Protesters rally for the arts in Topeka, KS on February 10, 2011. (Dave Loewenstein)

As the budget battle heats up, several states, including Michigan and Texas, are looking to zero out arts funding. Last week Kansas got there first. Governor Sam Brownback abolished the Kansas Arts Commission, which has a budget of $600,000 and receives matching funds from the NEA. Kurt called up State Senator Roger Reitz — a Republican — who wants to save the Commission. The Governor's action, Reitz believes, is not a money-saver; he thinks it will actually hurt the state's economy.


Update 3/17: On March 16 the Kansas Arts Commission received a lifeline in the form of State Senate Resolution #1819, opposing Governor Brownback's order to eliminate the commission on July 1. Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission, singled out Senator Reitz for thanks: “We are grateful for the dedication of Senator Roger Reitz, District #22, for proposing and championing the resolution." The commission is safe for the immediate future — but according to an Associated Press report, it still faces the possibility that Governor Brownback will use his power to veto individual budget items on its funding.



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Roger Reitz

Comments [4]

Sheila Roberts from Phillipsburg, Kansas

Our local arts commission has received grants from KAC and what they provide to our community and the surrounding area is family oriented presentations that would not come to our area witout the KAC. It will be a very sad day in Kansas if this is allowed to happen. I am a self supporting artist / signmaker and truly wish more people understood the necessity and influence of art in our daily lives. The KAC educates Kansas citizens about the arts. Please legislators, do not let this happen.

Feb. 21 2011 06:40 PM
jackson from massachusetts

Popular culture and a technologically driven future need a balance, and that is the arts. It is what informs our humanity, where we express ourselves as individuals, as a race, and where we share a sense of who we are across time and space. All civilized countries recognize the need for arts support and the way all arts enrich us in ways not necessarily measurable. We should educate for the mind, the body, and the imagination. Anything less creates a population of docile, unthinking citizens. What a shame it is that such a discussion actually becomes necessary in this country alone at such a precarious moment in history.

Feb. 19 2011 02:33 PM
jean from nj

it is time to defund to zero all of these "arts" commissions. let the people vote with their admission ticket as to what "art" they want in their life. this commission on "art" is from l940 when people had no way to get art. today we have radio, tv, dvds, local community events, etc. there is absolutely no need for these commissions to pick what any of us want to see and spend our time with. let local artists pay for their own way, not invade our wallets.

Feb. 19 2011 07:09 AM
Eric Abraham

Senator Reitz is 100% correct. To make up for the cuts to the arts, all art venues will have to raise their price of admission or cut back on services, which will actually reduce the number of attendees. Which results in a LOSE, LOSE situation.

Feb. 18 2011 09:40 AM

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