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banyon
08-21-2011, 09:47 AM
Loss of NEA funding stings state arts groups
92 Comments
BY FRED MANN
The Wichita Eagle

http://media.kansas.com/smedia/2011/08/20/06/42/5fJHC.Em.80.jpeg
"Every dollar means a lot to us," said Parvan Bakardiev, general director of Wichita Grand Opera, which received $8,000 a year from the arts commission.


Middle school kids in Bourbon County probably won't make the annual trip to Kansas City, Mo., to see a play this year.

The Bourbon County Arts Council has closed its office and put its belongings in storage. It is operating out of the home of its executive director, Peggy Cummings, in Fort Scott.

"It's just been the biggest fiasco ever," Cummings said.

On the other side of the state, the Western Plains Arts Association in Colby, which serves nine sparsely populated counties located miles from large cities, will have to cut cultural programming and raise ticket prices.

"It's going to have a big impact on us," said Pat Ziegelmeier, executive director of the association.

Arts organizations across the state anticipated the National Endowment for the Arts' decision this week to deny the state's request for federal funds in the wake of Gov. Sam Brownback's decision to lay off the staff of the Kansas Arts Commission and veto its funding. Brownback has maintained that arts funding would not suffer as a result.

But the news still stung.

http://media.kansas.com/smedia/2011/08/19/15/25/1nMKba.Em.80.jpg

"If we don't have any additional funding, I don't know how long we'll be able to continue," Ziegelmeier said.

Kansas had been providing about $700,000 a year to the commission to receive about $800,000 in partnership grants from the NEA, and about $400,000 from the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

The Mid-America Arts Alliance is expected to withhold its money from Kansas as well, although it hasn't decided, said Abby Beckloff, director of external affairs.

In a letter this week to Kansas Arts Commission chairman Linda Browning Weis, the NEA said that the newly re-constituted commission "is deeply immersed in transitional activities and is not fully operational in ways that comply with the NEA's eligibility requirements."

It invited Kansas to apply for the grant next year.

Weis said she was disappointed. The commission had been reorganizing since July 21, replacing five of its 12 members and moving to new offices in Topeka, she said. She was required to act on the grant by Aug. 1.

"There's just been a lot of bridges that we've had to cross," she said.

Weis sent a letter to the NEA on Aug. 1 stating that even though the arts commission doesn't receive direct state funding, it is the lead agency in the state for arts programs.

Usually there's a chance to work things out when it comes to securing grant funding, said Weis, a Manhattan real estate broker who spent 30 years in music education.

"When the (NEA) letter said it was a final determination, I was stunned," she said. "I thought they understood we were a work in progress. Something that's done well takes time."

Blasting Brownback

Kansas Citizens for the Arts, which advocates for public funding for the arts, issued a statement blasting Brownback for vetoing the commission's budget.

"Governor Brownback has repeatedly and misleadingly claimed that his veto of state funding for the arts would not endanger $1.2 million in federal matching funds. With the state projecting a $180 million year-end surplus, we call upon the governor to listen to the Legislature and reinstate funding to the Kansas Arts Commission," the statement said.

Brownback, in a written statement, defended his revised commission.

"The Kansas Arts Commission is doing an excellent job in a short period of time moving forward with a new vision for funding of the arts. I fully support their efforts and hope the NEA will as well," the statement said.

The cuts are likely to have less impact on arts organizations in large cities like Wichita, where more funding resources are available.

Still, "Every dollar means a lot to us," said Parvan Bakardiev, general director of Wichita Grand Opera, which received $8,000 a year from the arts commission.

The opera is relatively independent, relying on private income, he said. But it also uses expensive costumes and sets for its productions.

"We have to make some modifications. We have to tighten the belt," he said. "We have seen that coming, so we are prepared for it."

Music Theatre of Wichita received about $7,000 to $8,000 a year from the arts commission, enough to pay for a production element for one of its shows, said Wayne Bryan, producing artistic director. But most of its funding comes from ticket sales and other sources.

The organization has been receiving its own funding from the NEA, ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 a year, and Bryan doesn't know if it will get that money this year. The organization just completed its application for next year and hasn't heard back yet, he said.

Bryan said he is concerned about the message that Brownback's veto sent to the nation about Kansas, which became the first state to eliminate its arts funding.

"It just confirms people's erroneous impressions of what Kansas must be like," he said.

In rural areas, the funding cuts have a deeper impact. The Western Plains Arts Association could lose up to $18,000 from the NEA and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

"That's huge for us," Ziegelmeier said.

It means cutting back on vocal, instrumental and theater programs for students, she said.

"We were the main vehicle for bringing cultural events to our area. We simply don't have the funding that cities do," she said.

"We're a long way out here, and many of our students never really travel very far out of the area to go to big cities," Ziegelmeier said.

NEA's letter

The NEA's letter to Weis, written by Laura A. Scanlan, director of state and regional partnerships, said the Kansas Arts Commission "has not demonstrated the availability of staff having relevant experience to carry out the programmatic responsibilities of the agency."

It questioned a plan calling for the newly created Kansas Arts Foundation to hire a transition consultant to support the commission. Brownback created the foundation, a private organization, to raise funds for arts programs to be distributed by the commission.

The NEA "has no basis for evaluating the Kansas Art Foundation's legal status or its governance structure vis-a-vis the Kansas Arts Commission," the letter said.

The NEA also said it "has no evidence that the Foundation has authority or funds available to hire resources for the commission."

The NEA letter said the commission hasn't provided a budget or any evidence that state funds are available to match a partnership award.

Weis, who heads the foundation as well as the commission, said she doesn't know how much money either organization has at the moment.

Brownback announced in July that he was donating more than $30,000 left over from his inaugural fund to the foundation.

Weis said $28,000 in federal funds was left with the commission, but she didn't know how much of that remains. Some will be returned to the NEA, she said.

The foundation has received some donations, she said. The commission also can receive funds directly, she said, but hasn't.

The NEA letter also referred to the commission's plans to eliminate programs such as the poet laureate program, arts management training and public receptions.

"There is no mention of how the core grant programs ... will be administered or adjudicated for artistic excellence and merit," the letter said.

Nor is there any mention of how cooperative agreements, partnerships and communications resources for constituents will be administered, the letter said.

Weis said she will work with the NEA to update it on the commission's activities so it understands the process.

Committees are revising commission by-laws, working on a handbook and developing a state arts plan to address budget and staffing needs, she said.

"We intend to do whatever we need to do to get this right," Weis said. "I know what a few dollars can mean to an artist."


http://www.kansas.com/2011/08/20/1981070/loss-of-nea-funding-stings-state.html

blaise
08-21-2011, 10:28 AM
I don't know the ins and outs. The federal program gives money to the state and then the state disperses it to theatres, galleries, etc.? Am I reading that correctly? Can the local theatres apply for the money directly?

banyon
08-21-2011, 10:32 AM
I don't know the ins and outs. The federal program gives money to the state and then the state disperses it to theatres, galleries, etc.? Am I reading that correctly? Can the local theatres apply for the money directly?

The local groups apply to the state, which has to match funds to qualify. It doesn't appear they can apply directly to the federal NEA.

Brownback explicitly claimed that the federal matching dollars would not go away with his plan, but they did.

blaise
08-21-2011, 10:41 AM
Well, I guess they'll have to put on shows with a simpler set and simpler costumes this year. I'm guessing this is a yearly thing- this matching of dollars by the NEA?

banyon
08-21-2011, 10:48 AM
Well, I guess they'll have to put on shows with a simpler set and simpler costumes this year. I'm guessing this is a yearly thing- this matching of dollars by the NEA?

Or in the case of Western Kansas where I live, probably they'll have to just make do with no show at all, right?

Yes, the grant is applied for and maintained on a yearly basis.

banyon
08-21-2011, 10:48 AM
I mean this is something that even KANSAS HOUSE REPUBLICANS voted against the Governor on. There is a bipartisan consensus that this was a thoroughly stupid move.

banyon
08-21-2011, 10:56 AM
Brownback also rejected this grant, while applying to the federal government for $6m for his marriage incentive program.

Brownback: Send back $31.5M federal grant
Posted: August 9, 2011 - 1:30pm
Advertisement
By Tim Carpenter
THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

Gov. Sam Brownback reversed course Tuesday by declaring the state would return a $31.5 million federal grant intended to finance technology infrastructure to comply with elements of national health insurance reform.

The decision came as a shock to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who was notified late Monday night by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

"Obviously, we are disappointed," said Linda Sheppard, manager of federal health reform projects at the insurance department. "We had not expected that. We thought we had a great opportunity for our state to be an early innovator and put together a great system."

The grant to Kansas also went to a handful of states to pioneer development of an online computer exchange capable of helping people select, enroll and purchase health insurance. The exchange is a component of health reform adopted by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. A key objective is to spread health insurance to just about every American.

The special funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was sought in December by then-Gov. Mark Parkinson. Gov. Sam Brownback was at the helm when the grant was received in February.

Colyer convened a telephone conference call Tuesday with several lawmakers and state officials to reveal the governor's unilateral decision to opt out of the federal scheme.

"There is much uncertainty surrounding the ability of the federal government to meet it's already budgeted future spending obligations," Brownback said. "Every state should be preparing for fewer federal resources, not more. To deal with that reality Kansas needs to maintain maximum flexibility. That requires freeing Kansas from the strings attached to the early innovator grant."

Colyer said Kansas should be "very selective in the federal funds the state applies for and receives."

The Kansas Republican Party had scheduled debate Saturday in Wichita on platform amendments denouncing health reform backed by Obama and seeking return of the grant to the federal treasury.

An HHS spokeswoman issued a statement saying "we are disappointed that Kansas has given up an opportunity to be a leader in the development of technology for state exchanges, which could have benefitted the citizens of Kansas, as well those in other parts of the country."

In an interview Monday, Praeger gave no indication the governor was preparing to quash the federal IT funding. She and Brownback are Republicans.

Brownback triggered bipartisan consternation about revision of administration policy.

"It was a surprise to me," said Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican. "Having money to implement this was a good move on the federal government's part."

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said Brownback transformed a funded federal mandate into an unfunded federal mandate.

"Instead of ‘maximizing flexibility,' as Governor Brownback claims, he’s tied the state’s hands and removed the right of every Kansan to control their own health care fate," Hensley said.

If the exchange system is upheld in federal court, the cost of crafting a Kansas network capable of handling Medicaid and private individual or small business insurance purchases would fall to the state. Failure by Kansas to develop the exchange by 2014 would result in a default allowing HHS to design and implement a system for Kansas.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, said Brownback's approach may be an attempt to frame health reform in advance of the 2012 presidential campaign. Rejection of the funding isn't in the best interests of Kansans unable to obtain health insurance, he said.

"Governor Brownback seems to be putting the Republican Party's policy agenda ahead of what's best for his state," Davis said.

Praeger led a public forum with business executives in Topeka about elements of the IT planning and use of the federal grant. The network will allow consumers to compare from among dozens of insurance benefit and cost options before selecting a carrier, she said.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, said the state's best approach was to fight federal health reform in court and proceed toward formation of the insurance exchange without the federal handout. Officials in Oklahoma announced in April plans to backtrack on acceptance of a similar $54 million infrastructure grant, he said.

"With strings attached, an unknown ultimate price tag and an unworkable timeline, the early innovator grant involves unreasonable risk," O'Neal said.

http://cjonline.com/news/2011-08-09/brownback-send-back-315m-federal-grant#.TlE1kWEs2K8

blaise
08-21-2011, 11:01 AM
Or in the case of Western Kansas where I live, probably they'll have to just make do with no show at all, right?

Yes, the grant is applied for and maintained on a yearly basis.

I'm not saying it's a good thing, but you mean to tell me they can't put on a show by getting volunteers to build sets, get some sort of backing by local people, and do a show that doesn't require elaborate props and costumes?

If someone is saying, "Welp, let's throw our hands up. No show this year," then I'd be surprised they were involved in community theatre to begin with. That's not what the people I know would do.

There's like 20 plays you could do with some chairs and a sofa.

Brock
08-21-2011, 11:08 AM
No Wicked in Dodge city this year, damn. :D

SNR
08-21-2011, 11:16 AM
No Wicked in Dodge city this year, damn. :DAnything that limits performances of that piece of shit is good.

Hoover
08-21-2011, 11:25 AM
Face it, money is tight for states and to get this money states have to spend money. Good for Sam for being a fiscal conservative. Why in the fu@k are my tax dollars going to support the arts anyway?

Backwards Masking
08-21-2011, 11:50 AM
Face it, money is tight for states and to get this money states have to spend money. Good for Sam for being a fiscal conservative. Why in the fu@k are my tax dollars going to support the arts anyway?

At least the arts are a means of entertainment for the locals and give kids and young people something positive to focus their time and energy on. I'd rather see money go there than mass Marriage Counseling Sessions for people that got knocked up and don't give a sh*t if they're married or not. The arts can be quite fun, Brownbacks moral crusade is anything but.

donkhater
08-21-2011, 12:05 PM
Usually the rationale for taxpayer support for the arts is to preserve the cultural of the region that receives it. But if art (music, theater or visual) is a true component of a people's culture, they"ll carry it on without the help of government. If it is that important, a free people will find a way. It has for thousands of years before the creation of Uncle Sam. I'm sick of these lame ass reasons for wasting taxes.

Backwards Masking
08-21-2011, 12:08 PM
Usually the rationale for taxpayer support for the arts is to preserve the cultural of the region that receives it. But if art (music, theater or visual) is a true component of a people's culture, they"ll carry it on without the help of government. If it is that important, a free people will find a way. It has for thousands of years before the creation of Uncle Sam.

Can't disagree with this. If someone needs government grants or a paycheck in order to do something creative it probably wouldn't be very from the heart. Creating the art should, in itself, be the highest form of achievement, and more a source of pride than petty cash.

Still, it'

Chocolate Hog
08-21-2011, 12:15 PM
Good.

trndobrd
08-21-2011, 02:41 PM
Face it, money is tight for states and to get this money states have to spend money. Good for Sam for being a fiscal conservative. Why in the fu@k are my tax dollars going to support the arts anyway?


So Banyon can live in Dodge City but still indulge his love for show tunes.

Reaper16
08-21-2011, 04:44 PM
Cutting arts funding is a fucking joke. It doesn't help the state's budget situation. He's damaging cultural capital only so that he can say on his re-election materials that he saved the state X amount of dollars.

Brock
08-21-2011, 04:47 PM
Sam panders to stupid church-people.

Chocolate Hog
08-21-2011, 04:59 PM
The states budget was in dire straits so it was either raise taxes (which wouldn't fly), cut from education spending which I believe made up for 63% of the state budget, or cut back on programs like these. Seems like a pretty obvious choice.

HonestChieffan
08-21-2011, 05:44 PM
Well damn. The country is broke and when we have to cut back some things will not get funded. Who would have figgered that!


Good on Brownback.

SNR
08-21-2011, 06:37 PM
Yeah, the arts have survived for 1000+ years in Western countries without government assistance.

Of course, those prior years had the advantage (or disadvantage) of a patronage system that actually gave jobs to these people.

That system is pretty much the same thing as supporting arts through government. In the past a citizen would be taxed, and their money would be given to the crown, which would get dispersed and paid to musicians and artists for their artistic services. In the present, a citizen gets taxed and the money goes through arts organizations, which pays musicians and artists for their artistic services.

Either way people who don't support/aren't financially capable of supporting the arts end up supporting them anyway.

Personally, if you're going to tax me to kill foreigners, provide for family planning, and grow government bureaucracies (all things I don't support) then you can tax me so my future kids can see an opera and actually improve their lives.

Reaper16
08-21-2011, 06:40 PM
cut back =! completely eliminate

donkhater
08-21-2011, 08:17 PM
Well damn. The country is broke and when we have to cut back some things will not get funded. Who would have figgered that!


Good on Brownback.
No shit. Priorities, people. We're soon going to have to identify them.

banyon
08-21-2011, 08:22 PM
No shit. Priorities, people. We're soon going to have to identify them.

Yay! We saved $700k! Now if Kansas only eliminates 714 more State Arts commissions, our budget shortfall will be addressed!

WE ADDRESSED OUR PRIORITIES


What, there's only 1 State Arts Commission?

Chocolate Hog
08-21-2011, 08:34 PM
Yay! We saved $700k! Now if Kansas only eliminates 714 more State Arts commissions, our budget shortfall will be addressed!

WE ADDRESSED OUR PRIORITIES


What, there's only 1 State Arts Commission?

So instead of eliminating arts we should cut back on education? Or should we raise taxes? I'm sure people would be thrilled with a tax increase. This past week Overland Park raised property taxes 46% but that's not enough we need the state to raise taxes as well so we can have artsy things!

Brock
08-21-2011, 08:34 PM
Just hack some more out of the schools, Sambo. Shit like this is why businesses don't want to move here even though we're supposedly "the sixth best state to do business in".

Brock
08-21-2011, 08:35 PM
So instead of eliminating arts we should cut back on education? Or should we raise taxes? I'm sure people would be thrilled with a tax increase. This past week Overland Park raised property taxes 46% but that's not enough we need the state to raise taxes as well so we can have artsy things!

They have hacked, and will continue to hack education. Why do you think OP and every other county has had to raise property taxes?

Chocolate Hog
08-21-2011, 08:38 PM
They have hacked, and will continue to hack education. Why do you think OP and every other county has had to raise property taxes?

Because of poor planning unless you believe there reasoning was to fix streets and fight gangs.

banyon
08-21-2011, 08:39 PM
So instead of eliminating arts we should cut back on education? Or should we raise taxes? I'm sure people would be thrilled with a tax increase. This past week Overland Park raised property taxes 46% but that's not enough we need the state to raise taxes as well so we can have artsy things!

Our budget shortfall is over $500 million. That was my point, it's specifically not an "instead of". It can't be because it's far too little money to matter. It's not a choice between cutting arts funding and cutting schools. Education is @ 64% of the State's budget, so if you want to address the deficit, there's really not another choice except cutting education of raising taxes and that's my point. The arts is just a political distraction.

Chocolate Hog
08-21-2011, 08:45 PM
Our budget shortfall is over $500 million. It's not a choice between cutting arts funding and cutting schools. Education is @ 64% of the State's budget, so if you want to address the deficit, there's really not another choice except cutting education of raising taxes and that's my point. The arts is just a political distraction.

So answer me this why can't the arts be privately funded?

banyon
08-21-2011, 08:56 PM
So answer me this why can't the arts be privately funded?

It can be. It's just not likely to be in rural areas/small towns. Is that a good tradeoff?

It's just like the conservative crusade against NPR. While Lawrence, KS's station can come up with the private money, High Plains Public Radio, HPPR, relies to the tune of 40% on those federal/state funds. Do people in Western Kansas deserve public radio? Since it is supposed to be the public's airwaves in the first place, I would think so.

HonestChieffan
08-21-2011, 09:03 PM
It can be. It's just not likely to be in rural areas/small towns. Is that a good tradeoff?

It's just like the conservative crusade against NPR. While Lawrence, KS's station can come up with the private money, High Plains Public Radio, HPPR, relies to the tune of 40% on those federal/state funds. Do people in Western Kansas deserve public radio? Since it is supposed to be the public's airwaves in the first place, I would think so.


If they want it, they will support it with donations. Thats sort of the idea behind NPR...or was supposed to be. Do they deserve it for no contribution? Seems not unless they can find a way to build staff and maintain a repeater.

Public radio is not deserved and its not an entitlement. Do they deserve Taco Bell?

HolyHandgernade
08-21-2011, 10:47 PM
Our budget shortfall is over $500 million. That was my point, it's specifically not an "instead of". It can't be because it's far too little money to matter. It's not a choice between cutting arts funding and cutting schools. Education is @ 64% of the State's budget, so if you want to address the deficit, there's really not another choice except cutting education of raising taxes and that's my point. The arts is just a political distraction.

"Governor Brownback has repeatedly and misleadingly claimed that his veto of state funding for the arts would not endanger $1.2 million in federal matching funds. With the state projecting a $180 million year-end surplus, we call upon the governor to listen to the Legislature and reinstate funding to the Kansas Arts Commission," the statement said.

I'm confused, is there a surplus or a shortfall?