Government
8:21 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Kansas Arts Commissioners Clash Over Foundation Funding Report

There was heated discussion on Tuesday at the meeting of the Kansas Arts Commission. The conflict was over how the state agency will work with a new private foundation that will raise money for arts programs in Kansas.

Kansas City, Mo. – There was heated discussion on Tuesday at the meeting of the Kansas Arts Commission. The conflict was over how the state agency will work with a new private foundation that will raise money for arts programs in Kansas.

A commissioner asked multiple times how much the foundation had raised. Kansas Arts Commission Chair Linda Browning Weis, who also works on the Arts Foundation, declined to answer. She says the foundation isn't required to make those records public.

"The Kansas Arts Foundation is a private 501(c)(3)," says Browning Weis. "They're not subject to open meetings, they're not subject to open records."

Browning Weis says they (the Kansas Arts Foundation) will release a report on how much money has been raised. Commissioner Henry Schwaller says the foundation isn't being transparent enough.

"Let's be honest. We're talking about an entity that's raising money for Kansas communities, Kansas artists, and Kansas organizations," says Schwaller. "If we don't know how the organization, then how can we do, have a relationship with them, how can we do business with them?"

This was one of the first meetings since Governor Sam Brownback eliminated funding for the Arts Commission and installed Linda Browning Weis as chair.