Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently proposed restoring some funding for the state arts commission. Last year, Brownback withdrew all funding, making Kansas the first to end state funding for the arts.
The Governor’s proposal calls for merging the Kansas Arts Commission and Kansas Film Commission into a new Creative Industries Commission under the Department of Commerce. The combined budget: $200,000.
"What is significant is the fact that the Governor has decided to talk about funding the arts again," says Kansas Citizens for the Arts spokeswoman Sarah Carkhuff Fizell.
But, according to Fizell, there are complications, including the condition that the newly-formed Creative Industries Commission boost economic growth. The funding would go to arts-related businesses that create jobs.
Fizell says she'd like the money to go back into communities "where it is needed, where it is used for educational programs, for employment, for workforce development, and for all the other things that arts do in our communities."
Some changes can be expected during negotiations with the Legislature, says Fizell. Additional funding for the arts is expected to come from sales of arts supporter license plates and a proposed tax checkoff.