(WICHITA, Kan.) — Llewellyn Crain, the Executive Director of the Kansas Arts Commission released the following statement regarding Governor Sam Brownback's proposed 2012 budget:
Yesterday, Governor Sam Brownback released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012. Governor Brownback plans to issue executive reorganization orders to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission.
This move will jeopardize at least $575,000 in National Endowment for the Arts matching funds, contradicting the Governor’s statement that the state will save $574,642.
The state will also lose valuable grants and services from its partners, such as Mid-America Arts Alliance, which provides more than $300,000 in grants and services to Kansas.
The arts in Kansas are a business — elimination of the state agency that supports them will have a ripple effect on other sectors of the economy. The Kansas Arts Commission provides valuable seed money that leverages private funds and supports the total employment of over 37,000 people in the creative arts industry.
Arts and cultural businesses support other businesses — galleries, photographic stores, bookstores and music stores. People who participate in the arts, children through senior citizens, purchase supplies, materials, instruments and equipment, support their local economy.
Eliminating support for the arts and cultural businesses, especially in rural communities that are already struggling, will cause a negative ripple effect throughout Kansas communities, causing a loss of private sector employment.
If these businesses go away — which many will — Kansas will struggle to recruit and retain companies and talented workforces to rural communities. No one wants to move to communities with poor quality of life.
In Fiscal Year 2011, the state spent .29 cents per capita on the arts. If the Governor’s proposal is accepted, we will spend .07 cents per person — far less than any other state in the nation (California, ranked 50th, spends .12 cents per person).
If Kansas loses federal funding, the NEA will grant these funds to other states, strengthening their economic competitiveness and weakening ours.
The Kansas Arts Commission is a state agency, funded by the State of Kansas and the National Endowment for the Arts, dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in Kansas. Its mission is to provide opportunities for the people of Kansas to experience, celebrate and value the arts throughout their lives. For more information on the Kansas Arts Commission, please visit the KAC website.